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Brooklyn Parrot Working on Nest | by Tony Fischer Photography
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Brooklyn Parrot Working on Nest

What are Wild Parrots Doing in Brooklyn?


"There is much mystery surrounding the appearance of these remarkable birds in Brooklyn, but it can safely be said that they did not fly up here from Argentina on their own.


There are a lot of wild theories about the parrots, and they range from the odd but possible (sinking ships, overturned trucks, etc.) to the nearly unthinkable (at least one source claims that the parrots were blown to the U.S.A. by Hurricane Gloria in the mid-1980s). But the theory that has the greatest credence among ornithologists is that a shipment of parrots destined for sale at New York area pet shops was accidentally released at Kennedy Airport in the late 1960's (1967 or 1968). This incident was referred to as early as 1971 in an article by ornithologist John Bull.


Much confusion remains about what actually happened at the airport. At least one source in Brooklyn has informed me that many shipments coming into the airport were opened by unauthorized people during the 1960's: Martin Scorsese's classic film, Goodfellas, based on the memoir of Nicholas Pileggi, depicts the common practice of "crews" opening crates in order to pilfer their contents. My informant speculates that a large crate bearing an indecipherable Argentinian way bill may have been opened in this fashion. But instead of finding bottles of fine Argentinian wine, the crate opener was surprised when an unruly crowd of fully-flighted Quaker Parrots burst into the air, circled the airport, screaming, and disappeared over the horizon.


Although the escaped parrots did not turn up immediately [in Brooklyn] (the earliest reported sighting was in the early 1970's), it is likely that the birds survived in the park lands surrounding the airport, and made their way in due course to the campus, where we find them today. There are other theories: that a pet store on Flatbush Avenue went out of business and released them, that a truck overturned on a highway, that an Argentinean tramp steamer foundered in New York Harbor, or that the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, after many years of hosting a captive flock of monk parakeets, abandoned these birds to the skies after closing its aviary, but the JFK airport escape theory is the one that I believe is most reliable.




"Brooklyn" was seen at Green-Wood Cemetery.....


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Taken on September 21, 2008