Friday, March 28, 2014

Carteret 3/28--Monk Parakeets

Washington Avenue near High Street, Carteret, NJ
Google Street Views
I had to be up in central Jersey again today, helping my mother with financial matters, so yesterday I looked up the location in Carteret, about 7 miles from my mom's house, where there is a well-known colony of Monk Parakeets. Despite the short distance, Carteret could just as well be Inner Mongolia--another place I've never been. After I mapped the trip on Google Maps (and there was no way of getting there that didn't seem rather convoluted), I took a look at the location using Street Views. A parakeet nest is clearly visible at the top of the utility pole. Must be the place.

I drove there in a driving drizzle parked the car and got out wondering if I'd find them. I wondered for about 2 seconds; I hadn't even closed the door when I heard them, then looked up and saw two sitting on a wire. I had parked right next to the pole in the picture. Soon another pair was calling and then two more were flying around at another nest on the other end of the empty lot.

Great looking birds--haven't seen them since my Brooklyn days when we'd go to Green-wood Cemetery where they act as greeters at the entrance. Too bad I forgot my camera.

I always feel a little weird in urban settings when I've got my binoculars out; people either think you're crazy because you're looking at birds, or they they think you're sinister because you're looking at something. There were 2 kids and a young guy across the street watching me. My urban alarm started to ring when the young guy said, "You like our birds?" "Yeah, I do," I said with a neutral voice. Well, that's all he needed. He crossed the street and talked my ear off about the birds, what they eat, where all the nests are in the area, how they dominate all the other birds, and the protest the utility company set off when they took a nest down. They're very protective and proud of their parakeets in the neighborhood.

However, when some other kids came along, throwing full plastic soda bottles at each other, I thought perhaps it was time to take my leave.


  1. Was it monk parakeets at Silver Lake in Rehoboth?

    1. Yes! Now, if you can tell me the date, I can add Monk Parakeet to my Delaware list. I believe it was Sept of 1995, just before I got a computer and started a digital trail of my life.