Hi all! I just discovered this forum, and was wondering if anyone had any advice.
I live in New Orleans (Uptown), and pre-Katrina we had some wild parrots around, and after the storm they've multiplied like crazy. We've got bunches around the neighborhood now. In particular, they like this damaged tree that's in the yard behind ours; Katrina stripped the leaves and killed the branch, so they can see far and wide. What we'd like to do is lure them closer- not to trap them of course, but just to watch them.
We've put out a larger feeder with parrot food, fruit treats, etc. Any other suggestions would be truly appreciated. I even talked to the chick (har har) at PetCo about this, and she looked at me like I was crazy. "You know, we sell those birds. You could walk out of here with it right now and not worry about those wild ones..." lol
You gotta give the "pet store chick" credit for trying to sell you one. Good employee! That is funny.
I know lots of people have these as pets, but I like to see that they are wild and free someplace. What a great experience you are having.
According to the research I'd done about the breed, they're known by both names, and there's lots of info about the pet variety of these birds, but other than their probable origins, not a lot about the wild variety.
How fun. What you might try is to put the food in the tree first. Let them get used to it being there and knowing that you won't threaten them. Then start moving it slowly to where you can observe them better - they just might follow the food.
Quaker parrots are communal and will build amazing nests if allowed to - a lot of people consider them pests, but I guess it depends on the circumstances.
The thing with parrots is patience and gentleness - did I say patience? lol
Check these links if you haven't seen them already:
This morning I got a shot of one of the wild parrots that live around here. Story is a pair got away from a beachside pet shop over ten years ago and started breeding. Whether that is true I don't know, but there are a total of around a dozen in a flock that roam around this area.
Unfortunately, I cannot get to the tree- the branches are well over the 2nd story rooftops, and the tree is in an 'unfriendly' neighbor's yard. (I'm on the board of the neighborhood association, and when the police showed up to ask questions about the mother beating on the toddler, they decided that either I or the association reported them. If I had known, I would have! But alas, I didn't know, so it wasn't me.)
So I have to work from within my yard, which is surrounded by a 10ft high wall. I've been asking around, and someone told me where a bunch of them keep their nests, so I'm going to wander over there and try to see it later on- it's supposed to be quite a sight!
I'll see if I can find a wider shot of the tree, but for now here's a bunch of them on the wires.
Neighbors...don't you wish we could choose them? The only other thing I can think of is to raise your feeding station on a pole in the middle of your yard so they notice it. Now this will sound crazy, but you could also put a stuffed quaker toy in the feeder like it is eating. I don't give up easily! lol
We put a photo of our our third bird on the wall by our other parrots and talked to it while she was in quarantine. When she moved in to the house, they were ready for her. And our littlest bird talks to pictures of birds of his species in magazines. Parrots will often react to stuffed birds.
Otherwise, just enjoy them where you see them and be thankful you don't have the mess right in your yard! :-) I remember seeing a tree that had to be removed because of their nesting - the nests weighed hundreds of pounds.
[quote]there are a few hawks around and it's my understanding that they'll hunt the parrots[/quote]
They'll try, but without much success - parrots in general tend to be long-lived, and hard for predators to catch
Resin, I was going to disagree, but you're probably right. We hear about hawks around here taking parrots - even small dogs - but we still have flocks of feral birds. Many pet birds have clipped wings or don't know how to fly. These feral birds, though, have grown up being chased and I'm sure are better equipped to survive. I remember our TV weatherman saying his African Grey had been plucked off a wall in the garden by a hawk - while he stood there helpless to stop it.
Unfortunately, our pet birds still have the instinctive fear without the confidence and get very nervous when the hawks are hunting. The shadows they cast when they go over the house are huge. My husband was out in the yard the other day and a hawk nearly dove into the ground within 6-8 feet of him trying to catch "something." DH is over 6ft tall, and the hawk was not in the least deterred.
I have a rescue Quaker. When a retired fireman discovered one in his backyard he called me as he knows I rescue pet birds. Apparently it was someone's pet because it was very friendly and talked, although not as distinctly as some parrots. That was five years ago and I still have it. In KY it is against the law to sell them as they eat crops when let loose.
I'll have to be extra nice to DH before talking about the pole thing...lol...
LOVE the stuffed parrot idea- I was actually thinking that I could download parrot sounds from the internet and play them back by the feeder. They're so loud I'm sure they'll at least hear it. (Actually, that's one of the things I told the pet store woman- could be why she was looking at me so strangely. ;) )
As far as the hawks, I've seen the parrots startle and quickly vacate the area when they're around, but thankfully I've never seen the hawks with caught prey of any variety. That's one mess I *really* don't need in the yard.
I do have a hanging birdbath- I'll get a shot of it in the morning and you can tell me if you think it's big enough for them. It's hanging on the biggest crook we could find- we have cats, and occasionally they get ambitious and jump at the chickadees.
I've got to go to the Ace Hardware tomorrow, which is across the street from where they nest. I'll try to get a pic of that, too.
Broadcasting sounds is an interesting idea. What do pet store people know, anyway? lol
If you have water of any kind out, it's probably enough for the little fellows, but can they see it? We noticed we get a lot more birds to our baths if they are fed by drip so that the water moves. It can be as simple as hanging a bottle with a tube so that it drips in the bath. Not sure how much quakers like water. I've seen a hummingbird bathe in a dewy rose, so they don't need much if they really want it, but they need some sort of attraction.
I'm enjoying your adventure. Can't wait to see the nest.
Got a few pics of the really huge nest- it's in/on/around a broadcast tower on Magazine Street. It's hard to get an idea of the size, but massive would not be overstating. I'll have to go at dawn or dusk to get detail- it's just too hot & hazy for the camera to get detail at this distance.
I edited a closeup- black and white at least shows a little more of what's up there.
The tower they've adopted? It's for radio for the blind! I think sometimes they wish it was for the deaf (okay, radio for the deaf doesn't exactly make sense, but c'mon, it's funny anyway... )
They're a nonprofit organization that reads newspapers, books, even grocery store circulars so those who can't can stay up to date. Somehow, I doubt people who'd go to all that trouble would harm the nest. (Or at least really hope not!)
I meant I was surprised the higher powers have not torn the nest down from the tower...hopefully it is not hurting anything and will be left intact. Yes, they sound like great people who probably enjoy hosting the parrots. Wonderful shots.
Can't see that being left there much longer - it makes the tower a hazard, as a storm acting on the extra weight and wind resistance could easily bring the whole tower down (and also a serious fire hazard in a thunderstorm). It is probably only there because, being a charity without a lot of resources, they probably can't afford to get someone up there to do the clearance. But they won't want to get stuck without a transmitter, either.
I was wondering. Are these guys noisy? I would think they could create quite a racket. Some nature sounds are soothing, then there is this baby crow out in the woods that sounds like a mad baby, complete with temper tantrums. It is actually funny. (because we cannot hear it from the house)
What do they sound like?
All parrots are noisy - the more, the noisier. These guys seem to chatter and squeak a lot. It doesn't sound bad to me, but then, you should have heard my girls this morning! Sounded like they were being murdered - but they were just playing and talking loudly to each other. Well, they were screaming to be honest. :-)
KyJoy and I cross posted - I take it you have personal knowledge? lol I wouldn't want that nest parked over my house, that's for sure.
Everyone who visits here says how quiet and relaxing it is...I say what? I can't hear you over the geese, birds, jays, frogs, owls, blue heron,etc. They laugh and say its a different noise. We do have to sometimes shut the window on nature, to get some sleep. I still prefer geese honking to cars!
Kaperc...sounds like you have your own personal wildlife!
I'm not horribly motivated to work this afternoon, so I decided to call the radio station and ask them how they felt about it.
They said that the nest has been there for years, though it's now much larger than it's ever been, tho of course the birds had to start from scratch after Katrina, rebuilding like the rest of us.
The woman I spoke to seemed generally unconcerned about the added weight to the tower and said she's sure it's been checked for stability when they service it. She said she didn't know for certain, as she's not in charge of that, but management is happy to have the parrots around, so she assumes they're not putting undo strain on anything.
Quakers make good pets and can be taught to talk, however, I wouldn't want more than one. Mine is in a cage with another rescue bird, a ringneck. The quaker's name is Polly although he is a boy. He is the leader of the flock (I have seven birds presently.) When they need seed or water he hollers, "Polly wants a cracker" and squawks until you come see what he or one of the other birds needs.. If one of them needs water, he has taught them to knock their water bottle down. Very smart bird.
You have to admit - they are cute little fellas (and girls!). Of course, I'm a sucker for parrots - there's something to be said for feathered friends that greet you every day with an enthusiastic "Good Morning!" and don't care how your hair looks. lol
Cpartschick, yes, we do. And I agree about geese vs. horns, too! We have a peacock nearby, another neighbor has geese and chickens, and across the road there is a donkey; every time she brays I smile. :-)
I found this thread by accident. I have a thread on the Bird Watching forum about the monks in Metairie. I see nests all over the area and have recently attracted them to my bird feeders in the backyard. I love to watch them interact in the flock - talk to each other, warn each other, preen each other, etc. It's fun seeing them wild. I assume you live around the Garden district since you mentioned Magazine. I've seen the parrots in the French Quarter -- on Royal Street nesting in the big palm trees across the street from the police station there.
Hi Tess -- I didn't do anything really special. And from the time I saw them in the crepe mrtyle tree until they came to my feed -- about 4 months passed. I think they ran out of stuff to green stuff to eat and started on my feeder. My feeders are in the middle of my backyard -- normal seed mix (penningtons is ok - 20 lb bag at winn dixie) is what they came down to and seem to like. I think if you have to be on their "route" to be seen in the first place -- I get a lot of birds at my feeder, especially now that its winter. Maybe they saw the activity and took a shot at my place. The more I look around, the more I see the parrots -- if you know what they sound like, you'll hear them first before you see them. Good luck!.
I just discovered a group of these wonderful birds at a park on the riverside of Napoleon, a few blocks past
that great little Italian restuarant that has been there for ever and heading toward Claiborne. There is a palm
at the back of the park, close to the playground, and the birds nestled into it. AMAZING.
Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is one of my favorite movies (I am a social worker who works with homeless
Kaper, I know what you mean about parrots. My dog's groomer has one that's always singing, "Happy Birthday, Jo!" whenever I go into her home. It tickles me to hear it. I've never asked her (though) how she feels about it. Know what I mean? LOL
Tess there is a large colony of Quakers on Fleur de Lis in Lakeview. Their nest are on the towers at the entergy sub station proably three or four of those large nest. If you take Harrison to Fleur de Lis turn right its about two blocks on the right. the nest are much closer to the ground.
Last winter I did a census of the Monk Parakeets in the Greater New Orleans area in an attempt to get the Louisiana Birds Record Committee to include the Monk Parakeet on the Official Louisiana Field Check-list. The result of my census was 2,253 Monk Parakeets in the area and the Birds Record Committee still did not put the Monk Parakeet on the official state list.
I still get upwards of 30 parrots a day spending time on my feeder -- one big flock and a couple of smaller groups. They come from Mike Miley in Metairie playground. The playground took down their nests at least twice already and they came back pretty quickly. I also have two escapees that seem to fly with the parrots -- a little blue parakeet and a cockatiel. Just a note on hawks -- my local Cooper's Hawk has no trouble with parrots - saw a parrot get picked off my bird feeder by a hawk.
In response to pelletory's question as to why Louisiana's Bird Record Committee (BRC) would not put the Monk Parakeet on the official state bird list:
The chairman of the Bird Records Committee wrote:
"We spent over an hour discussing Monk Parakeet. We were
about to take a vote, but it was fairly apparent that the vote would not be
unanimous and, somewhat embarrassingly, no one was sure whether the voting
outcome should be based on a simple majority versus a 7-0 or 6-1 in favor as
would be necessary for accepting an individual record. As far as we can
tell, all other such species additions or deletions from the state list have
been unanimous. So, as soon as we come to a consensus on the procedural
matter, then we will go ahead and vote."
That was last March and I don't think they have discussed the procedural matter yet. While they talk about a simple majority versus a 7-0 or 6-1 vote, their bylaws, which govern this, only need a simple majority vote to be changed.
Besides this, I suspect Louisiana's BRC, like some other BRCs, have one or more members who are referred to by the typical birder here as No Introduced Species snobs. Since the Monk is an introduced species, they will never vote to place it on the list unless it spreads across the state so much that it would be embarrassing not to list it. This was the case with the listed Eurasian Collared Dove. I don't think this will happen for the Monk, considering that the first record of it in Louisiana was in 1972, and it hasn't spread out of the Greater New Orleans area.
Hi, I just noticed this thread...when I saw the title, I thought, 'No, that can't mean New Orleans!' I was born there, (lived in Metairie) but moved away as a child, and haven't been back for over 25 years, unfortunately.
My sister and brother-in-law are going down there for vacation soon. I will tell them to look for these amazing birds!
I live in Westwego, LA, off Central Avenue, and at the electrical substation on Central is a huge colony of monk parrots. They have established several huge nests within the metal tower structures, and the community is huge. This morning I had the thrill of seeing about 30-40 of them on a lawn of a home across the street from the substation. It was just amazing to see all those parrots on the ground. One was so fat, it made me laugh. They are large and healthy, and just amazing birds. I owned one once for several years, and loved it as if it was another child. They are so full of personality, so humorous, so very loving and affectionate. I LOVED THAT BIRD!!! Never knew if it was a male or female, as they look the same. I kissed it so much, it made the kissing sound. Warmest beak too!!! So, each time I see one of the parrots in my neighborhood, I'm thrilled. To know they are thriving in our area is such a joy to me. I look for them everyday. Love seeing them. Also love seeing the wild rabbits along the thickets on Hwy. 90 on the way to work in the morning. Arlene Muller, Westwego, LA Resident
They're everywhere, they're everywhere! I live in North Kenner, and they all over the place. I've owned parrots before, so I knew it was a parrot when I heard them. There is a huge nest on Power Blvd. near West Esplanade that you can miss. It's very noticeable in one of the electrical transmission towers on the neutral ground (median). I just checked google and I can't see it but it's there, and has been there well over a year now.
Pre-Katrina I would see a flock of parrots in the oaks on the Canal Blvd neutral ground at I-610. I haven't seen them since. Yesterday I spotted three parrots on Canal Blvd. near the railroad tracks while I sat at Lakeview Brew. They flew into a Bradford Pear tree in the neutral ground in front of the coffee shop.