Cemetery parrots… and onward to Queens

5/25/22

Today was my last day in Brooklyn, and it was a good one. My host Michael and I walked over to the historic—and breathtaking—Green-Wood Cemetery. Michael had told me there was rumored to be a wild parrot flock living there, and that immediately caught my attention.

Some of you may recall that some years ago, I became obsessed with parrots. I learned as much as I could about them for several years, and this culminated with my making a short film about the intelligence—and sad plight—of pet parrots. (Click the link to see the film on YouTube.)

For that film, I chose to interview bird rescuer Chris Driggins because I had seen him on a local news segment in a story about monk parakeets (also called Quaker parrots) in the southwest Washington town of Yacolt. A flock of these birds had begun making their homes in the electrical wires of the town, and the local utility wanted to kill the birds since the nests were damaging the wires. It was then I learned that this particular species of parrot (of the hundreds of parrot species in the world) is the only one that uses sticks and twigs to build a nest like non-psittacine birds, rather than hollowing out tree trunks like other parrots. These nests they build can be enormous—as large as a Volkswagen Beetle. They are multifamily dwellings, kind of like apartment complexes for different families within a flock.

Mr. Driggins managed to convince local homeowners to allow him to place “nest starter boxes” in trees in their yards, to encourage the parrots to begin building their nests there rather than on the utility lines.

So when I heard that there might be a flock of these parrots in the nearby cemetery in Brooklyn, I was even more excited to visit the scenic spot than I had already been.

The walk over to the main entrance, where I understood the nest to be, took us a very pleasant half hour or so. It was another perfect-weather day in New York, and we savored it.

When we arrived at the gate, we could see the nest at the top of the spires, and could just barely make out a head or two of a parrot peeking out. Sadly, my phone’s camera could not adequately capture this, so I’m including a photo here that I did not take, but which came from the blog brooklynparrots.com, where you can read more about the birds and the cemetery.

[Photo credit: Stephen Carl Baldwin, brooklynparrots.com]

After confirming that the parrots were there, we ambled back home through the cemetery.

Shortly thereafter, I had to bid Michael and his adorable kitty Tigger a fond farewell, and make my way over to my friend Natchra’s place in Queens. It is my first time in Queens, and the ride over here was beautiful at times. I’m looking forward to checking out the surrounding Sunnyside neighborhood tomorrow.

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2 thoughts on “Cemetery parrots… and onward to Queens”

  1. The title made me wonder if the parrots were buried there or living in the cemetery. Enjoy your ride!

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