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Archive for June, 2007

Brooklyn Parrots
Brooklyn College and Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY


Saturday we went on Steve Baldwin’s excellent and amusing tour of the wild parrots of Brooklyn. We met near Brooklyn College and he wended our way through college buildings to the soccer field, where the parrots live in sofa-sized nests in the lights. Unlike many wildlife tours, where you’re lucky to catch a glimpse, the parrots here are readily available for your viewing. And you’re allowed to feed them. Bring some birdseed, Baldwin suggests.


The birds–bright green and a little smaller than pigeons–will happily eat birdseed and peanuts off the ground. You’ll get to see the boys squawk a little over the turf. They swoop in and out of the giant nest and around the neighborhood.

Baldwin has some good insights into the parrots behavior. As New Yorkers, he says, they’re wary of strangers. (Which is smart because some idiots captured a bunch of the monk parrots last year to breed and sell as pets.)

The old urban legend is that the parrots, which have been around here, in Chicago, and now 14 states, escaped from a crate at the airport. Baldwin has a new, plausible twist to the story: mob workers are responsible for the release here and around the country. They would open every crate and skim a bit off of whatever was inside for themselves. But when they opened these crates, some flew out. This story seems to explain so many escapees from airports around the country.

After a tour of Brooklyn College, Baldwin took us to Green-Wood Cemetery, where the parrots have driven out some nuisance pigeons that used to nest in the historic entrance gate. The Brooklyn College neighborhood is pretty used to seeing green birds flying around. Since Green-Wood constantly attracts new visitors, we saw many more passerby shocked and delighted by the parrots.

Where To See Wildlife Around New York City
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