Budgie in Brooklyn

Escapee parakeet calls Northside park home

The Brooklyn Paper
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Williamsburg’s most popular new resident sports a flashy yellow coat, hangs out near the flea market, and lives completely off seeds — and, no, he’s not a hipster.

A gregarious long-tailed Australian parakeet has started calling the esplanade along the Northside waterfront home, prompting excited finger-pointing and plenty of impromptu photo-snapping from Brooklyn Flea shoppers and ferry commuters.

The eye-catching little squawker, which was spotted perched on a waterfront ledge multiple times last week, could be wild, but is most likely a pet that flew the coop, experts say.

“It’s likely an escapee who needs to be recaptured,” said Stephen Baldwin, who runs the website, which is dedicated to the borough’s brightly colored birds.

The bird is a budgerigar — or “budgie” — and is a popular pet because of its bright colors and ability to mimic humans’ voices. But they’re also savvy escape artists.

The birds are prone to sneaky getaways thanks to their hooked beaks, which afford them a set of Houdini-esque cage-opening skills, Brooklyn pet shop workers say.

The colorful pets also tend to go missing in the summer because owners often leave windows open or take them onto fire escapes, said Pedro Rivera of Paradise Bird Shop on Grand Street.

“People bring them outside to cool down but once they fly away they’re usually lost for good,” he said.

In the wild, the parakeets live in dry, moderate climates and can survive off of grass seeds as long as natural predators such as hawks and owls don’t snatch them up.

But this feathered Brooklynite might have more to worry about than bigger birds: he needs to find his way home before cold weather arrives, according to Baldwin.

“There is no way this bird can survive on its own in Brooklyn for very long,” he said.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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Reader Feedback

toro from not here says:
July 19, 2012, 9:31 am
Tippi Hedren from Bodega Bay, CA says:
Be wary of this bird when you take the kids to a playground! And be prepared to run!
July 20, 2012, 5:27 pm

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