Monk Parakeets Gather Branches for Nests

It’s always special seeing wild parrots in suburban Long Island. (See my earlier post: Wild on Long Island: Parrots.) Monk Parakeets (also known as Quaker Parrots) are native to Argentina and classified as “released exotics” here. They’ve adapted and been in New York City and surrounding areas for decades.

I’ve seen Monk Parakeets once before at Levy Preserve; they stopped briefly in the trees to eat before moving on. This time I had a good look as I watched them gather nesting material. The parakeets use their strong beaks to chop through a branch, grab it, then balance it before flying off to their nests nearby.

Monk Parakeet Cutting Branch

Monk Parakeet / Quaker Parrot

Monk Parakeet / Quaker Parrot

Monk Parakeet / Quaker Parrot

Photos taken May 11, 2015 at Levy Preserve, Merrick, Long Island, NY

Endangered Terns Nest on Protected NY Beach

Terns are in danger of extinction in New York State. They have few suitable places left to nest and Nickerson Beach, on Long Island, is one of them. It has roped-off, protected areas where terns and other endangered birds, such as Piping Plovers, can nest.

The terns fly out just beyond the breaking waves to catch small fish to bring back to their hungry chicks:
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Here, a tern poses on a sign warning people to stay out of the protected nesting areas:
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Photographs taken June 27, 2014

Barn Swallow Close-up

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

This Barn Swallow’s bill is muddy from collecting mud for it’s nest. Photo taken on June 21, 2014 at Marine Nature Study Area, Long Island, NY, with a Canon Powershot SX50 HS.

Protecting the Nest

A male Red-winged Blackbird dive-bombs a Great Egret. The Blackbird wanted the Egret to move because it was too close to the Blackbird’s nesting area.

A male Red-winged Blackbird dive-bombs a Great Egret.

Wild on Long Island: Parrots

Walking through Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve in Merrick, Long Island, NY, a pair of Monk Parakeets crossed my path.  No, not somebody’s pet birds, but wild parrots. They live here in the New York Metro area, including Long Island, but I don’t see them often. The only other time I’ve seen them was at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY, where a colony of Monk Parakeets nest in the gatehouse’s Gothic spires. (Green-Wood Cemetery is a National Historical Landmark and a well-known spot for birding.)

New York Audubon’s web site offers some history on how these South American birds came to live in New York:

“…These blue-green parrots, native to the mountainous regions of Argentina, are classified as released exotics. Legend has it that the now-wild birds escaped in the 1960s when a crate of caged monk parakeet broke open at JFK airport. Our winters are similar to those in the Andes, so they have thrived, nesting on the lighting fixtures at the Brooklyn College athletic field as well as on the highest spire of the main entrance gatehouse here [Green-Wood Cemetery]. The parrot’s catchy name comes from the patch of gray on its head resembling a monk’s cap.”

Here’s a photo of one of the parakeets I saw at Levy Preserve on June 2, 2014:

Monk Parakeet (Quaker Parrot)


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