This video segment from WILD TV investigates wild parrots that live in Brooklyn in New York City. There are various theories as to how these parrots have come to live wild in the city. Parrots typically live in the much warmer climates of South America, and it must be difficult for them to survive the colder winter temperatures in the Northeast United States. Scientists are observing the parrots and recording where they nest, what they eat and any other behaviors. Neighbors say the green parrots are loud, but generally the people enjoy having them around.
Science, animals, natural habitats
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for elementary or middle school students using this video in an English language arts or science lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) When we write a paragraph, we need a main idea. The other ideas in the paragraph should connect to that main idea to support it. For example, we wouldn’t have a paragraph about parrots and then squeeze in a sentence about ice skating. All of the supporting sentences should have something to do with parrots. So, what is a main idea statement?
Focus (ELA) What do you think the main idea statement is in this segment about green parrots?
Follow Up (ELA) Discuss possibilities for the main idea statement for the video. Explain how details from the video support the best main idea statement. Why is it important to be able to identify a paragraph’s or story’s main idea statement? Why is it important as a writer to stick to the main idea when writing?
Frame (SCI) What do you know about parrots? From what country do they originate? This segment is about wild parrots that have adapted to living in New York City. How do you think they got there? What problems might they have surviving there?
Focus (SCI) Find out theories about how the green parrots have come to live wild and learned to survive in New York City through adaptation.
Follow Up (SCI) What theories do you have to explain how the parrots have come to live wild in New York City and other parts of the country? What does an animal have to do to learn to adapt to its environment? Will all survive? Explain. How does this relate to how people learn to adapt to new environments? For example, when you start a new school year, do you have to make certain changes to adapt to a new classroom with a new teacher and classmates? What does it mean to be able to adapt?
WALI: I heard something…
JEN USCHER: Suddenly we heard this chirping sound and we looked up at the sky and saw all of these beautiful green parrots flying around in circles and we were just amazed that there could be wild parrots in Brooklyn.
JEN: For whatever reason they have managed to adapt to this environment that’s pretty (map of S. America) different then where they’re from in Argentina, Boliva and various countries in South America. So, that’s what’s so fascinating about them to me is how have they have managed to adapt.
JEN: And so, what I have been doing gradually over the last few months is just visiting all these different sites people that have told me about and taking notes and confirming for myself how many parakeets are there.
JEN: I’m trying to find out how many nests there are in Queens, I know there are some nests in Queens, and there might be nests in Long Island. (Title Card: Monk Parakeets are the only nest-building parrots.) There’s nests in New Jersey.
JEN: It’s thrilling, honestly, it’s like being a detective.
As were driving in the car, we’ll roll down the windows and we’re listening because these birds have a very, very distinctive kind of sharp raspy call.
JEN: Monk parakeets are probably the easiest birds that one could hope to find because they are so loud and conspicuous and colorful.
JEN: We’re generally looking at utility poles and transformers because 9 times out of 10 (graphic: Parakeets also nest in trees and rooftops…)(but utility poles offer a stable nesting place.) that’s where their nests are located.
JEN: So we’re driving along in the car and we’re listening and looking at utility poles and also of course we’re looking at the map and trying to check out spots that people have already told us where we were going to find nests.
JEN: These nests provide them shelter in the winter and I think that’s a big factor of helping them to survive.
JEN: I feel that’s it’s a mystery that nobody really knows where they come from, how thev’ve gotten here how they survive.
GIRL: You, looking at the birds?
WALI: Yeah I am, what do you know about these birds?
GIRL: Well, we call them the green parrots.
JEN: My theory is that it probably wasn’t any one event. What probably happened is during the late 60’s and 70’s a lot of parakeets were being imported into the United States from South America and a lot of people have these pets that maybe either turned out to be a little noisier than they expected so maybe they just let the window open and let the bird go or maybe the bird got loose by accident.
MAN: What I heard and I would not swear to is that it seems to be that there was a shipment of parakeets that came into Kennedy airport and one of the handlers, the word is he was drunk…
WOMAN: One day they were not here and then suddenly all of a sudden there was a nest.
MAN: …and he dropped the crate and they all got loose.
JEN: They are always talking to each other also. They are very, very vocal.
WOMAN: There’s a language.
WOMAN W/ HAT: They can talk from 26th street to 28th street, they have their own telephone system.
JEN: Generally what we’ll write down: is the date and time (graphic: 11:00 a.m./ August 23) that we observed birds, how many birds we see, the location of the nests, the size of the nest, maybe how many openings there are to the nest doorways and we’ll also write down any interesting behavior we observe, such as what the parakeets are eating, where the parakeets are going.
JEN: Sometimes you’ll take down notes about their vocalizations. Sometimes (Graphic: parakeets drawing) I’ll even draw pictures of the nests or some kind of behavior I’ve noticed. We’re also taking photographs and our hope is that over different seasons we are documenting what’s happening to each nest.
TWIN1: Most wildlife we have is like cats and rats…
WALI: See that one right there is my favorite one.
GIRL: It’s a baby one.
MAN: The question most people ask me is “How do you sleep?” I live in this house right here, with them making all that noise. I say very simple, my bedroom is in the back and the front room is for guests.
JEN: They stick together, they’re very communal birds, they help each other out, they probably help each other find food, they’re always hanging out together, so because of that um I think that they are able to teach each other how to survive in the wild. They do eat at peoples’ bird feeders. So we really think that people in the neighborhood do help them to survive the winter.
MAN: Usually the same two will go into the same hole the same apartment.
JEN: There’s a lot of evidence that the monk parakeets are breeding in Brooklyn.
JEN: If you watch them they really have silly kind of funny antics and also they are very affection for each other.
WALI: Wow…oh they look like they’re kissing, see these two –
JEN: Yeah, you’re right, that’s a behavior that we observe quite often actually, these birds are really affectionate.
WALI: They really kiss?
JEN: Yes that’s something they do to sort of seal their pair bond.
WOMAN W/ HAT: I think they’re wonderful for our community.
JEN: It gives me a great feeling see to them out here in Brooklyn. I mean in the same, you know neighborhoods I live in and you know I feel like they are my neighbors and I’m really proud that they are here.
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