[CT Birds] On Monk Parakeet sightings in "odd" places

Paul Koker pkoker2011 at charter.net
Wed Jan 9 20:42:17 EST 2013

Interesting information.  And while others are fascinated or irritated by
the posts on monk parakeets, my thoughts took a rather Monty Pythonesque
turn when I read your statement "(Monks are sexually monogamous)".  All I
can picture is a bunch of monks chanting and whacking themselves on the head
with their books every few steps.  Oh boy, way too Catholic of an
upbringing...or way too much Monty Python....

New Milford 

-----Original Message-----
From: CTBirds [mailto:ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of
Kevin Burgio
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2013 2:16 PM
To: David F Provencher
Cc: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] On Monk Parakeet sightings in "odd" places


You are correct about the Rhode Island colonies (e.g. Warwick and East
Providence), any one of them are well within 100km of Willimantic, so the
potential exists that this individual isn't even originally from CT.

To answer your other question regarding an observation of a "typical"
dispersal event, to my knowledge there is none.  Which makes the newly
discovered bird in Willimantic of great interest, scientifically.  The
research done on the subject (which I cited in my original message) just
looked at variation in micro-satellite loci frequencies and distances
between nests of close relatives to see how far particular alleles can
travel within a single generation.

The truth is that very little is known about Monk Parakeets in North
America (or in general, really).  It is really just my gut feeling that a
mated couple (Monks are sexually monogamous) would be more likely to
disperse from a site rather than an individual bird for a few reasons.  As
parrots, they are incredibly social creatures and its been my experience
that they are never seen without other parakeets nearby.  The behavior of
striking out on their own to found a new colony is incredibly risky, in
that the odds that another, unattached member of the opposite sex happened
to find them after also deciding to strike out on their own is probably
rather low, at least in North America.  However, it may be that in their
native range, individuals do leave their natal colony in order to increase
gene flow to infuse new alleles into other colonies to ward off the effects
of inbreeding depression and etc. and this behavior may be adaptive in
their native range but maladaptive in their invasive range where it is much
less likely that they'd find established colonies 100 km from their
original colony.

Obviously, this is all just conjecture based entirely on my gut and my
knowledge of the birds.  Researched properly, this new incursion into
Willimantic may yield quite a bit of information about a number of aspects
of their dispersal, nest site selection, and colonization, but only if
other Monks find their way to Willimantic and they set up a breeding
population there.


On Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 1:29 PM, David F Provencher <
david.f.provencher at dom.com> wrote:

> Quite interesting Kevin, thanks for the info. Using a 100 km radius for
> successful dispersion, wouldn't a Providence RI colony be a potential
> source as well? Have any successful dispersals actually been observed in
> real time, with more than one bird arriving simultaneously at a site with
> successful colony resulting? If not, than one might assume this could
> be a manifestation of the usual dispersal mechanism, even if a failed one.
> Dave
> David Provencher
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Kevin Burgio
Ph.D. Student
NSF Graduate Research Fellow
University of Connecticut
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Dept
U-3043 75 No. Eagleville Road
Storrs, CT  06269-3043
kevin.burgio at uconn.edu
(860) 486-3839
Monk Parakeet Research Website <http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/people/burgio>
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