Thursday, June 22, 2006
The northern New Jersey town of Edgewater has an interesting distinction: one of its neighborhoods is inhabited by a flock of monk parrots.
The jury is out on how exactly they got there -- the popular story is that they escaped from an incoming cargo shipment at Newark Airport. However, there's a similar story about a flock in Queens and JFK Airport, so who knows.
Every once in a while, the Edgewater parrots get evicted from their homes. You see, they tend to build huge nests of branches and twigs on or next to power transformers; the pole-top equipment provides a warm place for them. They raise the danger of creating outages, so the local utility, with the assistance of NJ Fish and Wildlife, breaks down the nests and makes the transformers safe again.
Despite the fact that the entire neighborhood could lose power -- and the nests could go up in flames -- if this work wasn't done, the neighbors complain when the birds are evicted. On the other hand, one or two local people have exploited the situation by catching the birds and attempting to sell them to exotic bird dealers. Monk parrots are protected by law, so the poachers generally are arrested and fined. (The utility and Fish & Wildlife don't harm the birds.)
The monk parrots don't seem to mind the eviction, as much as they might squawk about it. Undeterred, they return to rebuild their nests as soon as the coast is clear.
A quick utility joke: Why do transformers hum? Because they don't know the words.
Posted by Tipitina at 5:01 PM