Wild monk parakeets and Long Island go way back.
On page 505 of the December 1973 issue of New York Exotic Birds, John Bull mentioned a colony in Nassau County “nearly 100 feet up on the steel platform of a United States Coast Guard microwave tower at Fort Tilden, Rockaway Beach, Long Island,” along with a grandstand-based nest in Aqueduct Raceway.
Over the past 43 years, Myiopsitta Monachus has continued to establish itself on Long Island (the same landmass as Brooklyn) — along the South Shore. It makes perfect sense that Monk Parakeets — fleeing captivity at Queens’ Kennedy Airport — would choose to install themselves in Nassau County, moving easterly along the coast.
Over the years, numerous sightings from Amityville, Lynbrook, Oceanside, and other Shouth Shore hamlets support the notion that these colonies are self-sustaining.
Yesterday, local station and CBS affiliate WLNY an a report on the parrots’ colony in Freeport — a town along the Southern Shore.
Today, their living situation in Freeport seems highly favorable, given the mayor’s assertion that “the neighbors seem to like them.”
Monk parakeets can be very good neighbors. As Bull reported back in 1973, “to date, I have heard of no protests about depredations from landowners, gardeners, farmers, or fruit growers.”
It seems clear that consistent local support for the parrots over the past 43 years has given them an edge in the New York area. As Bull wrote, “many feeding station operators, including bored housewives, see to it that their “favorites” come through with bountiful handouts-proof that food, not temperature is the main survival factor.”
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