Despite Kestrel drama, Green-Wood wild parrot flock looks good

Two weeks ago I made my way out to Green-Wood Cemetery, the best place to see the wild parrots in Brooklyn. I showed up around 3:00 PM and was disappointed to see no parrots around the main gate. I did, however, see something that greatly disturbed me: a pair of American Kestrels were hanging around the gate; one of them (see photos) appeared to have actually taken up residence in one of the parrots’ nest entry portals.

American Kestrels are magnificent birds, but I’m not sure the parrots have much use for them.
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Kestrel/id
Visitor or squatter?

Later, a group of three parrots showed up, and one of the kestrels dove at them, driving them off.

The trio vanished, time ticked on, and not a sound was heard in the sky. I waited for at least an hour but saw zero parrots and a dark thought occurred: could these two predators have single handedly wiped out the entire flock? Did I just see the last three survivors in retreat? Or, due to their forbidding presence, had the larger group of parrot decided to abandon the cemetery, perhaps seeking temp quarters in the surrounding neighborhood or in the Con Ed substation across the street?

I left the cemetery that day feeling defeated and disturbed, but returned one week later, Saturday, September 4th. On this day, the kestrel was briefly seen, but far away from the parrot nest. The parrots did not appear until sunset — about 5 PM this time of year — but when they returned, it became clear to me that the flock, numbering 27, was intact.

The parrots may be elusive during most of the day at Green-Wood, but the flock appears intact!
I counted 27 birds in this photo — there may be a few more hanging out but 27 is a good number!

The first nesting Monk Parakeets seen in Connecticut in 1971 shared quarters with an owl. Perhaps the kestrels are merely stopping by (I mean, how could one resist inspecting such a structure?)

At this time of year, the parrots like to gather at the 5th Avenue side of the cemetery just before sunset. You might even be able to capture a few portraits if you’re set up with the light at the right angle.

I’d encourage anyone seeking to view the parrots in NYC to visit Green-Wood Cemetery. Try to get there before sunset. The parrots seem to spend most of their daylight hours away from the cemetery, returning just before sunset to feed on several trees near the 5th Avenue side before returning to their communal nests to bed down for the evening.

Lenora Todaro on the Monks of Brooklyn

I had the recent pleasure of accompanying writer Lenora Todaro on a trip to Green-Wood Cemetery to see the wild parrots. She interviewed a bunch of New Yorkers — including myself — on what these interesting interlopers are up to, and what they can teach us about living in New York City. Lenora’s well-written, thought-provoking article, published to the Catapult Website, was published today.