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The wild parakeets of East Boston – Universal Hub

George Cumming photographs the pair of monk parakeets that showed up last fall and survived the winter:
… Now they are back and they are nesting on Bremen St. not far from the Y. This is truly better than chocolate Easter bunnies. They are very vocal and fallen nesting material is strewn all over the sidewalk beneath. It is just amazing to watch these birds while lots of people walk past on their way to the Airport T station. …
Copyright George Cumming. Posted in the Universal Hub pool on Flickr.

There used to be a couple of canaries that nested on Presidents Golf Course in Quincy. They were there one summer, but I didn’t notice them the next. I could never find out if they didn’t survive a northeast winter or they were victims of some other disaster, i.e., cats, being hit with a golf ball, or perhaps a hawk.
… a thriving colony of wild parrots, in a park right down the block from our condo (and across the street from the late Mayor Harold Washington’s apartment). After a few years, they had built a quite large “multi-family” nest. Eventually, after we moved, the colony was removed (don’t know details — and probably don’t want to know), as state agricultural officials feared these might spread to farming areas (and the species was apparently c9onsidered a crop pest in its home territory).
Per wikipedia (so it must be correct!) there does appear to be a type of Parrot that can survive wild in the Northeast. Would a true bird enthusiast know if the two in the photo are indeed that type?
Yeah — that’s almost definitely a monk/Quaker parakeet.
There was (is?) a large colony of them in Warwick, RI, too.
… from wikipedia’s picture. ;~}
As to the birds, I just remember they were green. A couple of years ago, (only) one of these parrots (I suppose) was part of a large-ish group of grackles that frequented our neighborhood.
is exactly what I, too, thought it was–a Quaker parakeet.
Yes, those are indeed quaker parakeets, or monk parakeets. I work at a non-profit bird sanctuary that originated in Mass., now in RI and we have an aviary full of them. These birds were all rescued from power lines that were being knocked down by utility companies. The adults would fly away, watch from afar as their nests were torn apart, their babies left to fall to the ground and die. A bunch of concerned citizens got together and took home a flock of these babies, having to hand feed them around them clock. Karen and Marc, my bosses took care of the babies they took home, and they are alive and well, flying around now in Hope Valley, RI at Foster Parrots/New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary. Few species of exotic birds could survive in the Northeast, with the winters we have, but these birds are builders extraordinaire! That’s the only reason they can make it. They make nests so intricate with tiny openings, just enough to come and go. They hide their babies for safety. We hear all the time of these flocks living all over New England and other areas. It’s sad that the power companies have to do what they do, as man is responsible for these birds being in the situation they are in. They are not native to the area, obviously originally escaped or were let go by their owners. Man did it, few take responsibility for it. Sad. Sorry, but it doesn’t say much for our species.
I remember seeing them from when I lived there as well. They were well known in Chicago, rumored to have been the descendants of escaped (or released) pets.
…how long have you been an ex-Chicagoan?
Where is Mark Bittner when you really need him?
I drive by this nest every day and have been trying to figure out what lived in its large stick nest. MYSTERY SOLVED. Thanks! Very interesting. Hope the little guys can stay for a while.
My sis-in-law sent me this article last month and since then I’ve looked for the birds while on my run through Bremmen Park, to no avail. This morning however I was in Brophy Park (on Seaver and Sumner Street), happened to look up and notice a bright green bird and instantly realized it was the wild parrot of East Boston! The pigeons were a bit confused but it looks to be doing fine!
the parrots are still there. I saw 4 of them a couple weeks ago. You have to be fast and in the right place at right time to see them. I’ve always seen them around 8:00 in the morning and around dusk in the evening.
Not so great for the power lines or the power companies…it’s all feathery cuteness until Polly starts a fire…
Imho, if anything, the birds are in far more danger of being incinerated by power lines if something goes wrong.
How wonderful to see them here! We have worked with the quaker populations from NJ to RI and they are amazingly hardy birds who can survive the winters here very easily. There are now populations all around the world. According to the USDA they are not invasive nor are they a threat to local farming or other agricultural enterprises. They DO NOT pose any fire hazard as one anonymous writer below suggests. Squirrels pose more of a fire hazard than any other animal. There will be many who will come up with total fantasies and repeated rumors against these wonderful birds. Don’t believe them, rejoice in this little success story…
Marc Johnson
Foster Parrots Ltd.
Hear, hear, Marc! Your comment is right on the money.
Bostonians should be aware that the birds breed when the hours of daylight art 11-12, usually in the beginning of April. Eggs are in the nest all month, and babies can be expected in the nest through September.
If you see any utility company touching the nests to remove them during this time, alert the media and get them to stop.
Great to hear from you, Marc, if anyone has a right to speak up on this topic, it’s you!!
They DO NOT pose any fire hazard as one anonymous writer below suggests.
The technical term for this statement is a lie. They do not pose any fire hazard? Anything that messes with hot wires is a fire hazard. As so typical of the animal-nutters, this topic really brings ’em out of the woodwork. The people who brought house finches and starlings to this country thought they were doing a great thing. How did that work out? The world is not one big petting zoo, and the world’s animals are not your pets. It’s time to get past this adolescent neediness stage and see animals for what they are – and what they are not.
The birds are still there, only now I only see 3 of them. There were 4 last Fall, after a successfull egg hatch. I enjoy hearing them in the mornings as they look for food. They don’t seem to be bothering anyone or anything. I see them working on the nest again, always building on it.
ARE THEY STILL THERE? Me and my family saw them several times in 2010. Since about 9 months ago we have not seen them. the nest also appears to be deteriorating.
If they are still here please let me know when to go see them.
They make the whole community feel WELCOME…
I have been walking the East Boston Greenway and have not seen the parrots for a while, it is now June. Has anyone seen them?
Are most definitely more of a threat. In my Dad’s apartment complex in South Weymouth, there are suicide squirrels. About once a week, one walks across a power line and gets electrocuted, causing an outage in the complex. It’s become fairly routine.
We live in East Boston and have been watching these parrots for about 4 years. When I first saw them I never saw more than 2. last summer I saw 5 at a time. Sadly, this spring I have seen only 3 at a time. Still, thats one more than 2 so maybe they will continue to expand. And why not?? If we’re lucky maybe they are a threat to the lovely Starling. More than a few people thought enough to provide snacks for these three over the winter. I have to say I did too. However, through routine checks on my way to the train I can say with some certainty that the donations went untouched all winter.
ps. Keep an eye out for a family of kestrels in Day Square, pretty cool too. We’ve seen as many as five at a time.
As a bird-love and an owner of an exotic bird myself (a beautiful female Congo African Grey Parrot), it warms me all over to read such a story. The parrots pictured in this article are unquestionably Quaker Parakeets, and they, too are beautiful, in their own way.
Squirrels, which are the next step up from rats, are among the most destructive animals that exist on this planet, considering their relatively small size. The birds are definitely far less of a threat.
I’ve read that the end of April is roughly when these green parrots of east Boston have their eggs hatch. Sounds about right from what I’ve noticed. I’ve seen the family emerge 5 strong and seemingly enjoying their summer a couple years ago. Lets hope for the best..
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