6. Escaped Monk Parrots Live There

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Image from Brooklyn Parrots

Since the 1970s, Green-Wood Cemetery has had a group of interest (though quite possibly illegal) tenants, Argentinian Monk parrots (Myiopsitta monachus). Details behind how exactly the parrots got there are a bit fuzzy, but there are some interesting theories. The most popular version claims that in 1967, an unmarked crate made its way to JFK Airport where a curious worker opened it, letting free a small flock of monk parrots. A similar version of the story claims that the “curious airport employee” was actually an individual with ties to the mafia looking to profit on the crate’s contents.

While many exotic parrots have escaped into the city, the monk parrots seem to be the only ones able to survive the harsh winters. The birds made their way into residential areas, where they naturally started to annoy residents, who then naturally reported it to the authorities. Authorities not knowing what to do were told by the Argentinian government that killing them would be the easiest way to get rid of them.

Im 1973, a group of bird hunters hired by the US government chased the flock, killing only about half. The rest flew off to Rikers Island. The bird hunters chased them there but had to wait a day for permits to enter the premises. By the time they got there, the parrots had flown away, seeking refuge in Green-Wood Cemetery where they continue to live.

Steve Baldwin of Brooklyn Parrots hosts “safaris” bringing interested visitors to the cemetery to see and learn more about New York City’s colorful, and loud residents.

Still curious? Check out our other article to learn more about the Monk Parrots of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.