[CT Birds] monk parakeets

Amy Hopkins hopkinsus at cs.com
Wed Jan 9 22:57:18 EST 2013

With regard to the many posts about monk parakeets on this group, please keep in mind certain things.  First, we did have another species of parrot here in CT, the Carolina parakeet, which we humans exterminated little more than a hundred years ago.  If they were still alive, this native species would have been waking everyone up with the dawn chorus as people report the monks do now.  And since I get woodpeckers banging on my house starting at 5 a.m. in season, certainly noisy bird sounds cannot be attributed only to monk parakeets.  Some people, including members of the Yale ornithology department, feel that monk parakeets are filling the niche left open by the Carolina parakeet.

Second, the term "invasive" is being used inappropriately.  An invasive species, whether it be animal or plant, is usually (though not always) a non-native species which, "adversely affect the habitats and bioregions they invade economically, environmentally, and/or ecologically" (per Wikipedia and in general use).  Note that even native species can be invasive.  Other than for the occasional sparring between utility companies and monk parakeets building their nests on transformers in some areas, there is no evidence that monk parakeets are invasive.  (Very recently one of our local utility companies also had a problem with an osprey nest built on a transformer.)  They have not displaced native species either in habitat or nesting sites.  They are not competing with native birds for food.  They have never been shown in the U.S. to be an agricultural pest, despite fears.  The monk parakeet population in CT is fairly stable since this is the northern end of their range and weather conditions do no lend themselves to widespread proliferation.

So for all of you who would like to see this non-native species exterminated, please tell me the reasons and scientific basis underlying your hatred of this delightful little green parrot.  I would give anything to have them in my yard.

Amy Hopkins

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