Luciana is from Brazil, but she currently lives in Midwood, Brooklyn – a neighborhood of old Victorian homes and well-manicured lawns and gardens. Last weekend, walking on Avenue I between 4th and 5th streets, she heard a familiar song and thought she had stumbled through a portal back to her homeland. No, it wasn’t a roving band of guitar-picking gauchos, but a colony of monk parakeets – colorful green birds native to Argentina, Brazil, and other balmy Pan-American environments.
The parakeets – which, according to lore, escaped from an importer’s cage at Kennedy Airport in the ’60s, have thrived in Brooklyn, where they build expansive nests and chirp their bizarre messages to one another. Click below to listen.
Luciana and I also saw them on Glenwood Road between 21st and 22nd streets. The birds have settled in other parts of the US, including Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati, New England, and Washington State as well. The monk parakeet is also the unofficial mascot of the nearby university, Brooklyn College, which has its own colony on campus.