Okay — I’m getting a lot of private reports about wild monk parakeets showing up in Manhattan. These reports are reliable, and they’re consistent with what I know about who these parrots are, where they’re residing, and why (perhaps) they’ve decided to make a stand on Manhattan.
I’m in the uncomfortable position of knowing more than I’m prepared to report in these pages. I’m not ready to publish X’s and Y’s. Why am I so skittish? Because the last time the Manhattan parrots got a lot of media attention, their nests were vandalized within a week.
I’m paranoid, becaause a similar thing also happened in Brooklyn — right after a big pulse of press attention hit the wires about certain colonies in 2006, an organized gang started poaching them (this gang was ultimately busted in New Jersey but that’s a whole ‘nother story).
It’s frustrating not being able to tell you in detail about what I know. Frankly, it’s a huge thrill that there appears to be a self-sustaining wild parrot colony on “The Rock.” I feel like jumping for joy!
At the same time, however, I’ve realized through bitter experience that I need to keep my big beak shut about them, because — well, lots of people read this site and no — I have no idea who they are, where they’re coming from, or what their intentions are.
So here’s what I’m willing to say:
The birds are somewhere on the upper part of the island.
Their nesting situation appears to be more secure than it was when the vandals struck several years ago. But unfortunately, where they’ve moved may put them in conflict with the City.
At least two good Manhattan residents have agreed to “keep an eye” on the birds
If you want to know more, please contact me personally (steve at brooklynparrots.com).
Texas is no stranger to the Monk Parakeet. The state has had the bird on its official State Bird List since 1991, and the Audubon Society recently counted 445 in the state. Wild colonies have been reported in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and other localities.
A group of Red-Crowned Parrots (AKA Mexican Red-Headed Parrots) appear to be attempting to establish a presence in Brownsville, Texas, a town just north of the Mexican border, according to local news site ValleyCentral.com. Red-crowned parrots are a IUCN class-EN (threatened) species in their native land of Mexico. Only 1,000 to 2,000 are known to exist there now, due to habitat loss and capture by the pet trade.
The Brownsville parrots — currently just five (three nestlings plus parents) — are cavity-nesters (unlike Brooklyn’s local Monk Parakeets, who build free-standing nests). They appear to be making good use of Brownsville’s many old palm trees to build nests within.
The parrots’ presence appears to be generating some sympathy in South Texas, if the sentiments of article author Richard Moore are any indication. He writes: “whether they are considered native or not doesn’t really matter, as they enhance our homeland with their enamoring tropical flair.”