Bird of the Week: Monk Parakeet

Monk Parakeet, Gary Clark

Monk Parakeet

If you’ve ever seen a flock of bright green parrots in downtown Austin and thought they looked a little out of place, you’re right. These highly social birds, which nest communally on light fixtures and utility poles, are originally native to Patagonia. They were brought to Texas in the mid-1970s as pets, and in urban areas many of these birds either escaped or were intentionally released. Being social animals, they eventually found each other, and by the 1980s had formed self-sustaining populations in cities across Texas, Florida, and the eastern United States. Although their foraging habits have earned them a reputation as agricultural pests, Monk Parakeets are mostly tolerated in the cities they call home, and sometimes even beloved: Austin’s population has its own Facebook and Yelp pages, with an average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5!

Compiled by Owen Moorhead. Sources include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.

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