Saturday, December 30, 2006

That was grim, wasn't it? Let's try something a bit less Apocalypt-y to end the evening with

"Parrots Have Colonized the Wilds of Brooklyn"

"...New York has many wild critters, and a few are not human. A coyote wandered into Central Park before running afoul of sunbathers, and the hawks Pale Male and Lola established aeries on a gilded stretch of Fifth Avenue. Raccoons know their way around Brooklyn's Prospect Park, and muskrats poke at the mud flats of the Harlem River.

But the parrots -- which are about a foot long and are known as monk parakeets because their gray chests and tufts resemble a monk's skullcap and frock -- are among the city's more cacophonous and unexpected residents. Their cry sounds like metal scraping metal. (San Francisco has parrots-in-residence on Telegraph Hill. And Chicago has a broad-shouldered, loud-squawking crew that has been called "Hells Angels with wings.")

Most Brooklyn parrots live in colonies of 50 or 60 birds, although a few less sociable types live on Coney Island or in Canarsie or Gravesend. They favor homes atop light and transmission poles; at Green-Wood Cemetery they inhabit the soaring gothic spires near the gate. Their nests are vast 400-pound constructs, with foyers and anterooms and a space where the females lay eggs and enjoy a respite from the males.

Con Edison knows these nests well, as periodically the power company's workers clamber around them. "These aren't nests; they're condominiums," a spokesman said.

Half a dozen nests can be seen atop the light poles at the Brooklyn College athletic field. On a recent Saturday, 20 or 30 of the resident parrots swooped down and, amid much screeching, alighted on the branches of an oak tree beside a pre-World War II apartment building. Children inside the apartments gestured and called at the birds; sometimes the parrots talk back. (In captivity, monk parakeets can develop a vocabulary of about 200 words.)

Steve Baldwin, 50, lives in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn and acts as the parrots' pro bono publicist and bard. He has composed a Lou Reed-style song, "The Ballad of the Brooklyn Parrots" (available at, which mixes human and parrot voices and which one "critic" called "Jim Morrison meets Rick Moranis at the Audubon Society."

"They eat berries, ornamental plants and sometimes pizza," Baldwin said as he gave a tour of the Brooklyn College nests to a dozen birders. "They are very intelligent, and of course they don't like the suburbs."

How the parrots came to Brooklyn is a mystery. Apparently a large crate filled with the parrots broke open at Kennedy International Airport in the late 1960s. Baldwin's voluminous research tends to implicate mafia goodfellas in the deed, although that "fact" might be too delicious to check out. The parrots hung around the Jamaica Bay marshes that girdle JFK's southern edges before moving into Brooklyn. The cold was no problem, as the parrots hailed from temperate-to-chilly Argentina.

At first, state and federal wildlife-control officers tried to wipe out this "invasive species." Hundreds of parrots perished, and in the 1970s, the last large colony relocated to light towers at the Rikers Island jail. An eradication team showed up to finish the job -- but the parrots had disappeared.

"Someone tipped the parrots off," Baldwin says with a shrug. "They circled back to Brooklyn, and everyone left them alone."

Now there is a new threat. Poachers with nets are snatching the parrots and selling them to pet stores. The poachers have all but denuded several neighborhoods. It has parrot-loving denizens of Brooklyn talking about vigilante patrols.

Kay Martin lives somewhere near Coney Island, in a house filled with at least nine varieties of parrots. She acknowledges that their racket awakens her at night. So what? They are friends, and they talk to her. Martin, diminutive and pugnacious, spends most of her spare time safeguarding the wild parrots.

Are there nests near your home? She frowns.

"I'm not saying," she says. "The last thing our parrots need is another reporter poking around."


Veronica said...

Dallas and St. Louis have them, too.

I love this movie about the SF flock.

antiprincess said...

hollywood beach, Florida - flocks of wild parrots. awesome.

meva said...

There's so little wild left, isn't there? And we all love novelty. Sad.

KH said...

By apocalyptic, I assume you refer to the bad breakup between Twist Faster & luckynkl, Mar Iguana, Mary Sunshine, et. al.?

It turns out TF actually had no idea what's been on that thread of hers for the past 2+ weeks, & is shocked!! shocked!!, faith shaken to the core, etc.

belledame222 said...

Actually I meant the ice shelf breaking off the Arctic (see below)

but, yeah. some people are their own ice shelves, i guess. breaking off.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KH said...

I assume this now is resolution time, to be followed by a redemption narrative with an asterisk, the question mark being: what did the Twisty know, & when did the Twisty know it? I myself think the Twisty knew something, & expressed a view, but recognize that only a few will dwell. Still, the shadow will remain.

belledame222 said...

well, if that's what it takes. yes, i am sure the prospect of mass delinking had nothing to do with her leap to action.

belledame222 said...

o jesus. now BL's blog is down too?

KH said...

I suspect even the benign narrative would implicitly acknowledge that it took some practical shock to awaken her from her dogmatic slumbers. Piny put it very diplomatically: wishing she'd read the thread before delivering herself on it.

belledame222 said...

which is why Chris and Ilyka tsking about how dumb and anti-progressive or whatever it is to threaten delinking is what's currently got my undies in a know. yeah, i know, Chris is her personal friend, maybe even offline.

but in general: for fuck's sake. how many times has this happened, this transaction? or something like it? well, whatever: we'll all live. and we all mean well, after all.

"Everybody has a heart. Except some people."

--Margo Channing

belledame222 said...

"in a knot," that is.

you know, i keep thinking: this, all this, is not THAT complicated, is it? as you once said, something along those lines: what's to know?

"don't be a fuckhead."

the rest is commentary.

KH said...

The original post was on Friday, Dec 15. TF entered the comments only after it had gone on for 11 days, with three on Tues, Dec 26th.

251. Twisty Dec 26th, 2006 at 2:47 pm
I stopped reading this thread when it turned, for no apparent reason, into a referendum on Sheila Jeffreys’ views on transgenderism, which do not interest me. Since then, it has been suggested that my failure to have commented on this “trannies: good or bad?” issue implies my tacit agreement with one faction over another.

Incorrect. It merely implies my lack of interest in a clump of commenters telling each other to fuck off. Not that you should stop or anything. But I personally gotta be in the mood.

My views on gender, inclusive of the trans-, cis-, or whathaveyou- varieties, are as follows.

Gender will not survive the destruction of patriarchy.

OK, carry on.

255. Twisty Dec 26th, 2006 at 3:09 pm
Wait. This just in. My spies inform me that there has been actual hate speech in this thread. Knock this shit off pronto or I’ll have to close the comments.

264. Twisty Dec 26th, 2006 at 8:27 pm
We’ll revisit this issue at a different point in the space-time continuum. That is all.

That’s the last comment on the thread. The next morning (Wed), she began a new post with a reference to it:

Dec 27th, 2006 at 9:58 am

Somewhere in the discussion of a semi-ossified post on lipstick (a discussion that somehow morphed into a referendum on transgenderism before it swelled up and went south), commenter Heart said she wanted to see “half as much attention drawn to the defense of girls and women who are targeted for hate speech, brutality, murder, rape, incest, who are prostituted, trafficked for sex, beaten by men if they don’t go to the back of the bus, cut up by their ‘boyfriends’ and stewed on the stove, raped, brutalized and burned up by soldiers, dragged a mile to their death by their ‘boyfriend’ and so on, as there is in calling radical feminists ‘bigots’.”

Your wish is my command! ...


The quote is from a late comment (# 262, Dec 26th at 4:52 pm) by Heart. Here’s the passage from which TF quotes (I’ve italicized the quoted part):

‘I can only wish that the soapbox-mounters who are so very, very righteously indignant about the hate speech here, so-called, and their supporters, would evidence half as much interest in a defense of girls and women who are targeted for hate speech, brutality, murder, rape, incest, who are prostituted, trafficked for sex, beaten by men if they don’t go to the back of the bus, cut up by their “boyfriends” and stewed on the stove, raped, brutalized and burned up by soldiers, dragged a mile to their death by their “boyfriend,” and so on, as there is in calling radical feminists “bigots.” I wish I could see some attention drawn to *these particular events and issues* on far, far more of the soapbox-mounters blogs. Really, I’ve just had it with that shit (not addressing anybody right now, talking generically, there’s just too much of that going on.)’

Note that TF’s quote elides who gives less attention to women, and compared to what the attention is less. She doesn’t explicitly repeat the complaint that it’s the soapbox-mounters who give less attention to women & girls, & they’re given less attention to women & girls than they are to trans people.

Although TF later (Dec 30) says she hadn’t by then read the thread, she obviously had read at least what she quoted, & perhaps the words in which it was immediately imbedded. I leave it to others to decide whether her decision to quote from a comment that’s so asperous toward the pro-transwomen “soapbox-mounters, with whose “shit” Heart is so sick, indicates approbation. It certainly doesn’t register disapprobation.

Heart had repeated these same sentiments earlier, in comments TF may mean to deny having yet read: “I have just goddamn fucking had it with this type of feminist, pardon my french, the kind that daily or weekly or every chance s/he gets, mounts some soapbox to defend the imaginary legions of oppressed-by-the-ZOMG-radfems …” Also: “It chaps my hide to the seventh level of heaven the way so many of the soapbox-mounters, the raging defenders of the ZOMG-oppressed-by-radfems …”

So I was surprised that three days later, Sat Dec 30th, she said she’d only just read it.

belledame222 said...

oh, preaching to the choir, obviously, but i appreciate the Sherlocking, for once.

Heart can kiss my pasty fat queer lesbian ass.

belledame222 said...

"for one," not "for once," that was meant to say.

belledame222 said...

dear Heart:

1) It is rather rude to suggest that other kinds of people are "imaginary," convenient as i am sure this would be for you.

2) It is in fact possible to call someone out for being a bigoted asshole--against someone who isn't in your own Oppressed Group, even!- in less time than it takes for all your vapors and handwringing.

3) Pull my finger. That about sums it up.

antiprincess said...

"don't be a fuckhead."

the rest is commentary.

Hillel (?) would be proud. or Maimonides? damn I can't remember.

sorry, I'm a little rusty on my rabbis.

antiprincess said...

and no, I'm not running all my posts retroactively and forward through the Tittilatron Luridizer to satisfy Heart's perverted fantasies.

No one deplores like she deplores - I leave her to it. I'll deplore other stuff.

KH said...

Here we have a division: luckynkl, Mar Iguana & Mary Sunshine now revile TF's, while Heart is in there pitching.

Question: does TF now criticize the sentiments Heart expresses in the quoted passage?

belledame222 said...

Hillel, yes.

Mar Iguana. Such a charming, clever moniker. well, let them go back to the feminista! boards from whence i think they spawned. Planet Clare, Bizarro World, what you will.

and quel surprise that the loyal loyaltons have now declared her Worst Person in the World. never could've seen that one coming...

belledame222 said...

kh: you can always try asking her. you might even get a response, way things have been going. i'd do it myself but somehow i tend to think my name there might be a tad inflammatory all by itself.

alternately, we can just keep sitting here in the bleachers with the popcorn and the binoculars.

belledame222 said...

Tittilatron Luridizer would be an AWESOME drag name.

little light said...

Hillel, bless his heart.

Did you notice how Heart made a maudlin comment in her own thread about how sad, sad it is that bfp is taking a break, and how much she values her--after insulting her and her discourse, calling her names, minimizing her concerns, and treating her with utter condescension?

That didn't so much get past me. She may be better than the others at sounding civil, but my one last try at dealing with her sidesteps told me enough.

antiprincess said...

hey, we got monk parakeets here - they nest in big old transformer towers and pipelines - anywhere there's heat.

they make huge huge huge colonies and live in giant communal nests.

the noise must be mindboggling.

seriously, can we get back to the topic here? why does nobody ever want to talk about important things like parakeets? ;)