Mother’s Day Walk: Monk Parakeets


    Just a reminder that the second annual Mother's Day Walk is this Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Ridgefield Nature Center. Earlier post with complete information is here.
    The walk, sponsored by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society, includes a visit to the Monk Parakeet colony in Ridgefield.
    The Monk Parakeets have a Mother's Day story all their own, as reported by the NJMC's Jim Wright in this week's South Bergenite.

     Full story follows.

By Jim Wright

Special to The South Bergenite

   With Mother’s Day just ahead, I thought I’d write about an amazing bunch of wild-bird Moms — and a few thoughtful humans who made sure the feathered females had a place to nest. 

   The Moms in question are part of the colony of monk parakeets of Ridgefield, in the northeastern corner of the Meadowlands District. For the past few years, these striking green birds from South America have made their elaborate nests on an old bridge over railroad tracks in a commercial part of town.

   The bridge was a perfect spot for these very loud birds. The neighbors – a car wash, warehouses, and passing trains and tractor-trailer trucks – were as noisy as the birds themselves.

   But this spring brought bad news for the birds. The bridge was in such bad shape that the state hired a contractor to make the necessary repairs right away. That meant removing the birds’ intricate nests made of sticks — just as nesting season was about to begin. What was a parakeet Mom to do?

    Enter Karen Riede, a dedicated Ridgefield conservationist. “When I arrived at the bridge to check on the parrots one morning, I saw all the construction equipment at the bridge, and my heart sank,” says Riede. “For the parrots, the repairs couldn’t have come at a worse met to the contractor, Joe Casimiro CQ of Power Concrete Co., Inc., at the site and explained the situation, but he said he couldn’t delay the job.

    Then Riede’s husband, Bruce, had an idea: Why not build temporary nest platforms on two old telephone poles nearby? 

   Casimiro not only agreed, but he had his work crews build and install the crate-size wooden structures at his company’s expense.

   Despite his efforts, for most of April the plan seemed ill-fated. The parrots brought a few sticks to the new structures, but there were no signs of nests. It looked like an entire breeding season would be lost.

   But when Riede visited the parrots last week, she was pleased to see that the parrots had built nests on the new platforms – and under them. A few Moms were busy getting ready for offspring – just in time for Mother’s Day.

   The monk parakeets would seem a strange fit for the Meadowlands. They are more suited to the tropics.  But in recent years they have expanded their local turf to the point where several colonies thrive in Bergen County. The Ridgefield colony is the only one in the Meadowlands District.

    Want to see the monk parakeets? The N.J. Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society are sponsoring a Mother’s Day Walk in Ridgefield this Sunday at 10 a.m., which will include a visit to the monk parakeets of Railroad Avenue. For more information, check To RSVP, contact the BCAS’ Don Torino at or 201-636-4022.


NJMC Communications Officer Jim Wright maintains the Commission’s daily nature blog, – featuring beautiful photography and the latest info on the region’s abundant natural wonders.


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