The Monk Parrots of Edgewater

At the base of Route 5 in Edgewater is a small park which has become overrun with parrots. The parrots are a rare breed which can survive the winters of the tri-state area. Where did they come from? The prevailing theory is that they escaped from a residence or pet shop thru an open window or door.

The small green and yellow parrots have established several large nests in the park and the surrounding streets. Some neighbors are unhappy with the parrots, but despite attempts to destroy the nests, the parrots build new ones very quickly. Other locals are thrilled to have them here. Whatever their origin, they have survived here for over 2 decades and are unlikely to go anywhere, any time soon.

According to the Bergen Record, the Edgewater parrots’ nests are a fire threat and need to be removed. I found this key passage :

In 1998, a nest atop a utility pole on Hilliard Avenue caught fire and knocked out power to 150 customers for more than an hour. Authorities said a spark from a lower line set the nest on fire. Six baby parakeets that were trapped in the nest died. Connell noted that a power outage during the winter would be considerably more disruptive, causing some people to lose their heat. Apparently, where the monk parrots are common, so are electrical fires from their nests. The monks have been in NJ since the 70’s in many areas of the state, but the EPA actively tried to eradicate them in southern NJ because of the threat to local agriculture.

So perhaps the theory that they were an escaped pet from a local homehowner is wrong?

Are there other colonies of monk parrots in NJ that we don’t know about?



3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Christa on March 18, 2009 at 11:33 AM

    I saw the parrots the other day, when I was walking on River Rd. I was horrified thinking they would never make it in the cold, I feel better now knowing they\’ll be alright.


  2. Posted by Michelle on March 12, 2009 at 3:33 PM

    These parrots didn’t get loose from a residence. They got let go from a pet store in Jersey City and there was more than a single male and female pair. Rumor has it that the shop owner couldn’t stand their screeching anymore (worse than cockatoos and macaws and I know this b/c I heard it myself) so they just set them free not realizing the impact on the environment. Monk parrots survive quite well in any climate which is what made them good bird pets. That’s why they bred so much. Also, if you saw them, the birch trees they are living in are getting fatally damaged b/c in the wild they gorge trees looking for insects. Birch trees in Englewood don’t have the insects they are looking for. Also, I examined their feathers that fell on the ground and all have some kind of disease from either mlanutiriton or mite infestation similar to mange in dogs. This finding alone shocks me that they bred in such great numbers. I saw them in Englewood 3 years ago. They have bred more and their colonies have spread to Hackensack now. I should be seeing them soon b/c I live in Teaneck!


  3. Posted by anonymous on March 12, 2009 at 3:32 PM

    I just saw your page regarding the parrots in Edgewater and I’m happy to report that some of them seem to have set up housekeeping in Teaneck! There is a large nest at the base of a transformer on Lindburgh Blvd. (towards the end, almost at Glenwood Ave. on the right-hand side as you cone down from Teaneck Road). I have counted 12 birds, but they sound like many more! As in Edgewater, I have heard that the residents have tried to knock down the nest, but they keep rebuilding. Are we watching evolution in action, with these birds adapting to our cold winters? Only in New Jersey!


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