The Godfather of Brooklyn’s Feral Parrot Colony
Meet a sixty-year-old New Yorker with a lifelong love of all things avian—and the secrets to the city’s mysterious flock of wild tropical birds.
Photos by Melissa Bunni Elian
When the tour group first convenes, Steve Baldwin, equipped with a baseball cap and DSLR camera, hands out his cards before the group sets off, on the off chance someone gets separated. On the left-hand side of his card is a close-up shot of a small, bright green bird perched on a branch. On the right, alongside his name, website and contact information, it reads: “Celebrating the wild Quaker Parrots of Brooklyn with free Wild Parrot Safaris.”
To watch sixty-year-old Baldwin narrate the parrot safaris, which he’s been leading since 2005, is to witness a born performer. His rapport with his audience is perhaps bolstered by his combined decades of experience performing as a musician and tour leader. But what comes through most is Baldwin’s passion for the feral parrot colonies of Brooklyn, and his excitement at being able to share that passion.