Queens is not the only place the tropical green birds have become firmly entrenched. Fifty years after exotic bird importers began carting them here from their native South America, the parrots have nestled into other neighborhoods in the city and beyond.
The best guess on their citywide population is around 550, though biologists say bird counts often capture just a tenth of their true totals. The parrots have set up colonies in at least 10 states, including Florida, Texas, Illinois and Oregon. They dappled European skies, breeding in England and Spain.
Today in Brooklyn, their pile-of-twig nests are built in the iron gates of Green-Wood Cemetery. They have made homes in Upper Manhattan and amid the trees in Riverside Park. They are in Whitestone and Flushing, Queens. They have built nests in Edgewater, N.J., in the slopes along River Road, an undulating bicycle path in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge, said Corey Finger, of Forest Hills, Queens, a co-owner of the birding blog 10,000 Birds.
But Queens has extended the birds perhaps the biggest welcome.
State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., who can see one of their nests from the windows of his district office in Howard Beach, is pushing two bills he introduced in 2010 to protect the parrots (also known as parakeets), though neither has passed. One would put them in a protected category. The other would require their nests be handled with care if they have to be moved. The senator says seeing the “green, rather large, rather unique-sounding parakeet” among pigeons fascinates New Yorkers.