Parakeets in Brooklyn (Monk Parakeets)

Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Ali Shahid

Brooklyn, New York is home to popular restaurants and historic districts. Over 40 years, a band of wild birds has come to this city.

However, few birds bring the exotic flavor of Brooklyn to life like the monk parakeet. Find out how the parakeets in Brooklyn lived a surreal life.

Description of Brooklyn Parakeet

Monk parakeets, also known as Quaker parrots, are intelligent, sociable, and resourceful birds from South America. The first sighting in New York City was in the late 1960s.

They can also be found occasionally in Manhattan and sometimes in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. The Quaker Parrot is remarkably adaptable to changing environments. Unlike other parrots, it can build nests on slopes, trees, steeples, and power poles.

This is why they are in a strong position in New York City. Throughout New York’s tough streets, they have survived tornadoes, hurricanes, and many predators.

Changing urban habitats will likely lead to changes in New York City populations. A monkey parakeet’s ability to charm humans makes them a charismatic bird.

Where did the Brooklyn Parakeets come from?

Spring is a time when migratory birds make their way to the United States from Central and South America. In contrast, the monk parakeet does not migrate. It arrived quite differently.

Argentinian farmers used to consider this small fruit-eating parrot a pest in the 1960s. After trying a massive extermination program that ultimately failed, the government tried a different approach.

They were collected and exported as pets to the U.S. and other countries. An Argentinian bird shipment was scheduled to arrive in New York for distribution to local pet shops. But it didn’t happen.

Several nesting birds escaped from the cargo hold at John F. Kennedy International Airport and set up in the tri-state area. In total, there are around 300 nests. Brooklyn College is home to one of the most famous colonies.

Utility pole transformers are attractive to birds because they produce heat. The nests are also not your typical ones. Since they are so large and complicated, they completely engulf the power equipment.

This has caused a great deal of trouble for electricians. When a nest becomes wet, it conducts electricity, resulting in equipment fires and power outages. Workers have used spikes and sound machines to deter birds.

It doesn’t matter what happens, they’re here to stay. Despite workers’ efforts to remove the nests, birds return within days. Occasionally, they have even attacked workers when eggs are present.

Are Monk Parakeets considered Dangerous in Brooklyn?

New Jersey considers these birds “potentially dangerous,” but New York doesn’t. The “potentially dangerous” classification has been questioned by many.

Residents in NJ sometimes report that these birds kill ornamental plants. However, grouping them with crocodiles and snakes seems excessive.

Where can you see the Brooklyn Parakeets?

A parakeet likes to build its nest in the same place every year. Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn offers the best chance of spotting parakeets. The birds have colonized the main gate, nesting among its ceramic features.

Brooklyn College is home to a famous flock as well. Around Brooklyn College’s athletic fields, parakeets live in tall light posts as the school’s unofficial mascot. Brooklyn has even seen a few flocks venture into other cities.

What do they sound like?

It takes some time to get used to the distinctive sound of Brooklyn’s wild parakeets. They have been described as being the loudest birds whose calls resemble those of fan blades. Any parrot that spots a threat will release a loud, five- or six-note cry.

This loud cry instantly alerts the other parrots in the flock that there’s an emergency. You can hear it for blocks! When there is no emergency, parrots use low-volume sounds such as squawks, chirps, and chortles to communicate with each other.

How many of them are in Brooklyn?

New York City does not have an official census of wild parakeets. During the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, parrots aren’t present. There may be fewer birds because they’re hiding in their colonies.

I estimate that Brooklyn College has 40 birds, Greenwood Cemetery has 60, and South Brooklyn may have 50 more. It is also difficult to determine if the population is increasing or decreasing throughout the district.

According to a long-term resident of Midwood, Brooklyn College had a large parrot colony in the 1980s (up to 200 birds). Green-Wood Cemetery had 75 birds a few years ago, but today there seem to be fewer.

During the winter, nests are removed, and poaching is rampant, affecting the parrot population in Brooklyn. Monk Parakeet populations in Brooklyn have not expanded rapidly, as predicted in the 1970s.


  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

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