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devil duck

Ornithology

So last month as I was walking Thing One home from the chiropractor (long story....), I saw a couple of guys pointing and staring up into a small tree. When I followed their lead, I saw a bright green parrot (well, some kind of psittacid -- I don't know them all apart). And another. And another. They took off and were joined by at least half a dozen more from other trees. I had heard there were parrots in Brooklyn, but didn't know they had moved to Queens. December in New Yawk....

Yesterday as I was taking the Things on a routine walk to excrete and check their p-mail, I saw a red-tailed hawk in the top of a tall tree in the front yard of a house. It flew away, and another flew into the same tree. At least one of them seemed to be carrying a stick in its mouth; nesting pair? In retrospect, I don't know why it was surprising: we live two blocks from a square mile of forested park, but I've never seen hawks here in my residential neighborhood.

Comments

Let us hope that the raptors take care of the psittacids :->
There is a colony of parakeets (larger than the typical petstore budgie) nearish to my Mom's house, and the cacophony is not to be believed. It's said they break into gazebos and porches to stay warm . I have extreme sympathy for the owners of those porches and gazebos when they get there in the spring and find out what was going on all winter!
Very cool! The hawks are probably after some ground mammal, hopefully they will help with any rats/mice/squirrel problems you have.

I wonder if the psittacids are escaped (or freed) pets? It seems very unusual for them to be in New York...
I wonder if the psittacids are escaped (or freed) pets? It seems very unusual for them to be in New York...

Not unusual at all--Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood has had monk parakeets for years. The Bklyn/Queens colony (known in our neck of the woods as Quaker parrots, or Quakers, allegedly got their start when a few birds escaped at JFK in the 1960s.

Quakers are "herd-minded" by nature, building huge communal nests (in which their shared body heat enables them to survive harsh Northern winters). They are also a noisy, messy invasive species which has been known to wreak havoc on electrical power lines and the like. Much as I like critters, I wish these birds would stay the h3ll away....
I always wondered if an enterprising someone could trap them and sell them. It would have to be better than the PR problems when they have to be exterminated.
I've seen hawks in our neighborhood. (Manhattan, lots of trees and grass - and pigeons and squirrels.) It's startling the first time you realize that fly by wasn't quite the pattern you're used to... and the bird seems... why, it's a hawk! I knew they were up in Central Park, but it hadn't occurred to me that they'd spread.
I had that "HUH!" feeling a few (okay many) years ago -- at that time, there was a nesting pair of peregrine falcons up here in Hartford. I was stuck in traffic on the bridge and saw a flock of pigeons coming in fast -- with a falcon coming in faster. I'd only seen my first peregrine a few months before, and that fighter-jet was unmistakeable. So very very cool.

It may be extra-snowy here in the river valley, but it makes for great birds.
I love hawks. Mistress Alexandre Accipiter got me hooked.

I see them all over the place here -- even feeding in our yard on the pigeons that roost on the one tall house in the neighborhood, and the squirrels that a neighbor delights in feeding. (Rob's old boss used to grumble and grouse about the squirrels raiding his bird-feeder until the day he saw a red-tail take a squirrel at the feeder. "OK so feeding the squirrels IS feeding the birds -- just at one remove!")

Unfortunately one winter we also had a Cooper's Hawk come through a window into the house. That's a long story, but short version is Rob caught it at neck&feet before he realized how stuuuupit that had been. We wrapped it in a blanket (and saw the claws come THROUGH the wool) and took it to the Audobon Society because it had a cut near one eye. They re-released it when they were sure it could still hunt. That part was all cool--the awful aftermath was we had a broken window & storm window in the middle of winter...