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Excitement Soars Over Tropical Birds On Long Island

Monk Parakeets Have Lived In Suffolk County For Decades

AMITYVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — They’re a long way from home.

As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, a colony of tropical parakeets can be found on Long Island, providing a thrill for Suffolk County residents.

“It blows the mind,” said Chris Carman, of Amityville. “You never get tired of it. … On any given day, you can see upwards of 60 to 80 of them.”

The monk parakeets, with their emerald green wings, are native to the Southern Hemisphere. Rob Alvey, founder of the Garden City Bird Sanctuary, said many of the birds are descendants of pets from Argentina that escaped from a shipping crate at Kennedy Airport in the 1960s. Some of the birds escaped from nearby homes, he added.

“I can guarantee they’re not entirely the JFK birds,” Alvey said.

The parakeets, which could fetch hundreds of dollars in a pet store, have blown up transformers building massive nests on power lines. They also can be quite chatty, neighbors said.

“Like 40 women having a coffee klatch in the morning,” one neighbor said with a chuckle.

There is also a colony of monk parakeets in Brooklyn.

In Amityville, the birds, which do not fly south for the winter, are a hot topic of conversation.

“Everybody asks me that comes and see them,” said Patty McDonough, a business owner. “They’re like, ‘Where did they came from? Whose are they?’ I’m like, they’re nobody’s. They adapted, and they survived. That’s what amazes me — they survived.”

Carman said residents should appreciate the parakeetes.

“Let them be. Just enjoy it,” he said. “That’s how I look at it: Just sit back and enjoy the beauty of it. Hey, it’s nature. Any time nature comes into your yard, if you don’t embrace, you’re missing something.”

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