A flock of tropical Monk Parakeets, also known as Quaker Parrots, have built up a mountain of a nest on top of a Sumner Avenue utility pole. The loud-squawking birds and their roost have drawn mixed reactions, but plenty of curiosity, from their East Yonkers neighbors.
“It was interesting in the beginning but at this point it has gotten a little annoying,” said Anthony Carlo, who lives next to the bird nest.
Neighbors aren’t sure exactly how many parakeets call Sumner Avenue home. Richard Brooker said he thinks it could be as many as half a dozen.
Brooker first noticed the birds four years ago when they started building their stick nest in front of his house at 95 Sumner Ave. It started out small, he said, but has steadily grown until it completely covered the top of the utility pole. And the birds inside have made quite a mess.
“I don’t even bother washing my car anymore,” he said, standing next to his black SUV that was covered in bird droppings. “I would like to see them gone.”
Still, nobody knows how the South American parakeets got here.
“One day these birds were just there,” neighbor Frances Alari said, adding she didn’t mind her street playing host to the exotic, green-feathered flock.
“They do make a lot of noise, especially in the morning,” she said. “But it doesn’t really bother me.”
The Sumner Avenue parakeets aren't the only group of city dwellers though. Several reports have put the birds in parts of New Jersey, Staten Island, Harlem, and the Bronx. There are even reports of the birds, which can be taught to talk, squawking songs in one Brooklyn neighborhood.
A number of theories have surfaced as to how the birds, which aren’t indigenous to the area, came to New York. The most popular, albeit unproven, idea is that a flock of parakeets destined for a Manhattan pet shop escaped from a broken crate at John F. Kennedy airport in the late 1960’s.
Regardless of how they arrived, the birds have peaked the curiosity of area residents.
“It’s interesting to see how these tropical birds are surviving in Yonkers,” Carlo said.
Con Edison Spokesman Chris Olert said the parakeets are often attracted to the power company’s warm equipment, building huge nests near transformers. Olert said Con Ed said has a policy of letting the birds remain in place until their nests present a danger.
“If we find it is a safety hazard, it won’t be up there long,” he said.
Still, the resilient birds will likely resurface somewhere else, Olert said.
“They are frequent breeders,” he said. “We remove their nests and they find another place to nest.”