A correspondent informs me that two large wild parrot nests were recently demolished on Staten Island in the vicinity of the westward approach to the Verrazono Bridge. The nests had been constructed upon power transmission lines belonging to Con Edison. According to my source, Con Ed workers reportedly took care to remove at least seven eggs remaining in the nest, but the disposition of these eggs remains uncertain. The six adult residents of the nest were dispersed; no effort was made to capture or harm them.
Wild parrots have had a difficult time colonizing Staten Island over the years. The multi-agency eradication campaigns of the 1970s were quite successful, and sightings have been comparatively rare since then. Staten Island is, of course, an island and parrots of this kind (Myopsitta Monachus) have an aversion to flying over large bodies of water, effectively isolating the birds from fellows of their species residing in Brooklyn.
While my correspondent (who likes the birds) was greatly aggrieved by this removal, I tried to make it clear to him that this removal was by no means a “worst practice” example of nest removal. Con Ed in this case did have a bird specialist on hand, workers evidently acted carefully, and the removals were done at a time of year in which the adult birds would have enough warm months ahead of them to survive and hopefully rebuild somewhere else. At the same time, however, it’s important to note that removing a nest while eggs and or young birds are in situ is not ideal; my hope is that in the future Con Ed more carefully times such removals to take account of the birds’ breeding cycle in the same way that its utility neighbor, PSE&G does.
My correspondent notes that wildlife appears to currently be under seige in his part of the island. Developers reportely felled 500 large trees to make way for condomiums, reducing the greenspace and scattering the local animals.
Up in Milton, Massachussettes, the Blue Hills Trailside Museum had a big problem this past may when four baby owls were ejected out of their nest by high winds. Fortunately, the museum’s staff had a lot of experience with this kind of problem, having placed more than 3,000 young hawks and owls into foster nets over the years.
All Media New York surveys the wide range of unusual animals who’ve made New York City home over the years. In addition to our charismatic wild Quaker Parrots, they include turkeys and bald eagles (Staten Island), chipmunks and rabbits (Brooklyn), and bats (Manhattan). As the author notes, flying squirrels, red foxes, salamanders, and the occasional wandering coyote can also be found.
Diversity — among humans and the animal kingdom alike — remains one of this city’s greatest charms.
I am very grateful to Elliot Malkin, who produces The People Podcast, for interviewing me about the wild parrots of Brooklyn. You can listen to the interview right here by clicking the “play button” below.
While coyote spottings are still unusual, the NYC Parks Department is hosting its first ever workshop on the NYC Coyotes, which will happen on March 21st, at 1:00 PM, at the Van Cortland Nature Center, West 246th Street and Broadway. If you’re a fan of strange interloping animals in major urban areas, it’s a must-attend event.