As the legend goes, the feral parrots often seen in Brooklyn and Queens came here from South America, breaking free into the boroughs from some crates at JFK airport some 20 years ago. While they may make for nice photos, the parrots are causing some chaos in Queens. Earlier this week more than 1,500 Con Ed customers in Beechhurst lost power because of the feathered friends nesting in electrical equipment, the NY Post reported. Their nests have reportedly damaged one piece of Con Ed equipment repeatedly, each time costing around $20K to fix.
A Con Ed spokesman says they built their nests on the powerlines for the warmth, adding, "They have caused fires in the past from the nests being around the equipment. We need to remove these nests for reliability." Enter: Hootie! The electronic owl, similar to Robo Hawk, was meant to scare off the parrots, but it didn't work very well—leading to conflicting reports.
Today, the Post reported that the owl has been let go; a Con Ed worker told the paper, "They got used to the owl. [Then] we put up a red flag, and now they're building a nest on it." However, CityRoom explains, "Con Edison technicians are giving him another chance, turning to something else known to deter parakeets: the color orange." A technician said, "We put an orange cape on Hootie, and now he’s Super Hootie."
Last year the Brooklyn Parrots website noted the nesting habits, saying, "While they may pose a headache for Con Edison and Verizon, they are a source of pride and amusement in the local neighborhood... Several residents have expressed interest in installing monk bunker alternative nest platforms to house them."