Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Parrots of Suburbia

Sunday morning, I woke up to these weird clicking, squawking sounds coming from outside my window. I look outside & see this:

"Is.... is that a parrot?..."

" sure looks like a parrot..."

& as it turned out, yes, it was a parrot. A bright green parrot. 

But there wasn't just one.
There were more.

There had to have been about 30-40 parrots around my house, eating the berries off the surrounding trees. It felt like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.

I quickly snapped a few pictures before they suddenly jumped up & flew off into the distance, for no reason. 

My first thought was "What the hell are parrots (a tropical bird, mind you) doing up here in the cold New York winter air?" If they were migrating, where were they going? & where were they coming from? This has been pestering me for the past few days. 

Well apparently, as I found out later on from this site, these parrots actually do live up here, centered mostly in Brooklyn. There's a few theories circulating about where the parrots originally came from. Some say the parrots were shipped here from Argentina in the 60's & several escaped their crates. Some suggest that the birds were blown up here by Hurricane Gloria back in the 80's. It's even speculated that the parrots all came from the same mother & father, who widely (& wildly) reproduced. Whichever is the right reason, there's still a hell of a lot of parrots flying around. 

But something still bothers me. The pictures on the site show all little light green parrots with white faces, while the parrots I saw were larger, bright green parrots with red faces. Are these the same species of parrot, are they crossbreeds with other birds in the area, or are they not?Maybe a pet shop exploded, I don't know. At this point, anything is plausible.

Eitherway, the parrots seemed to have adapted to our cold climate & polluted air & made New York their home (I guess Frank Sinatra was right). 


Mike Luckas said...

...I want parrots at my house D:


City Parrots said...

Interesting! These are Mitred Parakeet (Aratinga mitrata), also known as the Mitred Conures. As far as I know this is the first mention of this species in the wild on the east coast of the USA accept for Florida. did once mention a single bird but never a whole population I belief. This is a great new find and I hope you will find out more about these animals.

Could you please these photos to our flickr group? and geotag. Would much appreciate it!

All best,


steve baldwin said...

Amazing pictures!

This flock of conures is a RARE RARE thing. Most wild parrots in NYC are Monk Parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots). The conures are much rarer and we don't know much about them. Congratulations on getting pix of them. It's amazing that they're able to survive here!

steve baldwin