The tale of their origins begins in the late 1960s when a crate, in transit from South America to points unknown, was opened at JFK airport. Depending on the person telling the story, you might hear that the crate was damaged in an unexplained, unspecified accident, or that a ring of thieves, working inside the airport, forced it open. Either way, the story ends on a dramatic note, with the cargo of little green parrots escaping and rapidly flying away.
The fact is, though, the fugitive flock didn’t get very far. As they soared in the skies above Brooklyn, the birds known as Quaker parrots (or monk parrots) looked down, liked what they saw, and landed. With easy access to food, shelter, and water, the feathered immigrants found a new home and flourished.
Today, the birds have set up small colonies in other parts of the Northeast, but live primarily in two locations near the center of the borough: Brooklyn College and Green-Wood Cemetery, where their nests safely rest atop the enormous, Gothic gate.
If you’d like to visit them, join Brooklyn parrot expert Steve Baldwin on one of his Brooklyn Wild Parrot Safaris.