Squawk! Parrots invade Park Slope, Brooklyn

Friday, August 31 2007 @ 03:59 PM UTC

Contributed by: MikeSchindlinger

By Dana Rubinstein -The Brooklyn Paper

A parrot on Eighth Avenue and 14th Street in Park Slope.

Brooklyn’s legendary Monk parrots have migrated to Park Slope.

A flock of about five bright green tropical parrots — an offshoot of the borough’s legendary wild parrot community in Midwood — has been spotted hanging out in a tree on the corner of 14th Street and Eighth Avenue.

Brett Cleaver, who lives on nearby 13th Street, has seen the bright green birds twice in a matter of four days.

“They were cute,” said Cleaver. “It seemed like there were two couples, and an odd man out. A couple of them were kissing. People were stopping and looking — it was certainly a spectacle.”

Brooklyn has been home to colonies of tropical South American Monk (or Quaker) parrots since at least the 1970s, when parrots intended for pet stores reportedly escaped during transport. While their exact origins remain murky, the parrots soon established a colony on the campus of Brooklyn College. They have since nested in large numbers in Green-Wood Cemetery, too.

But this is the first known instance of Monk parrots living in Park Slope, according to Steve Baldwin, Brooklyn’s foremost expert on the Monk parrot, the founder of www.brooklynparrots.com, and the leader of the Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari.

Baldwin said the repeated sightings of the parrots in the 14th Street tree indicate that they have indeed established a colony in Park Slope — though not necessarily in that tree (they prefer less conventional sites like the nooks under air conditioners and within church spires).

“My theory is that this may be a roving band of teenage parrots,” said Baldwin. “The colony of parrots at Green-Wood Cemetery had a big crop of babies this year. I think the babies that were born last year, now that they know the ropes and aren’t dependent on their parents any more, are looking for new places to settle down.

Baldwin said it would only be natural for the parrots to nest in the Slope. After all, they’re pretty familiar with the area. The parrots have been known to soar through the neighborhood in search of bird feeders.
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“They’d fly through the neighborhood once in a while, and we’d say, ‘What the hell was that?’” said Caleigh Fisher, the manager of Cafe Steinhof, which is a block away from the bird hang-out. “But this is the first year, I’ve spotted them so close to us.”

Fisher, for one, is cool with his new neighbors.

“Sure! why not? Everyone needs a tree to rest in, right?” said Fisher.

Cleaver agrees.

“I want them to move into my backyard,” said Cleaver. “They might be loud, though.”

But Baldwin argued that Slopers should be flattered.

“Parrots don’t live in places that are undesirable,” added Baldwin. “They need some green, they like some nice trees to munch on. Park Slopers should be proud.”