A pair of parrot poachers are poaching parrots.
In the dark of night, two birdbrains are trapping and making off with the popular birds that nest at the tops of light posts in the Dust Bowl, a field at 65th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues, and the borough’s bird lovers are squawking.
The stealthy pair of parrot-nappers was first observed about three weeks ago, up to their nefarious deeds after the lights at the field, on Eighth Avenue and 65th Street, were turned off.
“I saw two guys putting together poles that were 20- to 30-feet high, holding a net between them that was about five feet wide,” reported Lou DiForte, who raised the alarm. “When they saw me, they stopped doing what they were doing. It looked like they were snatching parrots to keep as pets or to sell.”
This may not be the only time the duo of parrot-purloiners was observed in flagrante delicto, trying to corner the market in the noisy green birds — called Quaker Parrots, also known as Monk Parakeets — which have colonized the borough over the past several decades.
A few nights before this article went to press, “Someone else saw two guys doing the same thing,” DiForte said.
This is definitely not okay, said Phil Abramson, a spokesman for the city’s Parks Department, who told us, “It is against Parks rules and regulations to remove any animal from a park,” and promised to set Parks Enforcement Patrol personnel on the trail of the parrot-nappers.
While frowned upon, parrot poaching might not be illegal. According to local parrot aficionado Steve Baldwin, state law does not protect the birds, which are therefore subject to trapping and extermination. Calls to the NYPD to determine if cops can ticket bird-stealers went unreturned by press time.
A bill was introduced in Albany last year that would grant the birds legal protection, Baldwin notes on his website, www.brooklynparrots.com.
But the measure has stalled in the Senate Environmental Committee because of opposition from those who worry that granting protective status to an invasive species, as the parrots are, could open the floodgates to protect similar non-native species.
Still, the city has been protective of the park parrots. Before the Dust Bowl was renovated, Baldwin was sent up in a cherry picker to make sure there were no baby birds left in the nests on the old light poles, and the new light poles display what Baldwin calls “a parrot-friendly redesign” on his website.
Baldwin has also come up with some parrot-perfect monikers for the Dust Bowl, which is being renamed to celebrate its newly dustless incarnation.
Avian Stadium, anyone? How about Brooklyn Parrot Acres?
— with Gary Buiso
©2010 Community News Group
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