Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Connecticut Parakeets

Yes, you read right. There are wild parakeets in Connecticut. Apparently, in the 1960s or thereabouts, some Monk Parakeets -- originally from Argentina, but kept as pets -- escaped or were released in North America, and these temperate-climate birds have since made their homes in various northern coastal areas. I knew that these birds existed around here (and my parents even saw some outside their hotel in New Haven when they visited last summer), but I only saw them for the first time with my own eyes this morning, during my normal weekly visit to Silver Sands State Park.

Yep, those are parakeets all right!

These guys were fun to watch, but they weren't really interested in having their pictures taken. They spent a few seconds on the ground drinking from puddles, but then they were flying off into the trees where their green feathers blended perfectly with the leaves, and I would never have even known they were there if it weren't for the (loud, raucous) sounds they were making.

From what I've read online, there's been some sort of controversy surrounding these birds in Connecticut. A few years ago, the state and a major utility company started an initiative to kill the Monk Parakeets because they were building their large nests on utility poles and causing electrical problems. Then people protested. So the company started removing problematic nests instead of killing the birds outright, but it doesn't sound like that program was having much success. I'm not sure what the official policy about these birds is now. It's also interesting to see Monk Parakeets described as akin to European Starlings or House Sparrows (i.e., a kind of annoying introduced species) on the Connecticut Audubon Society blog. In any case, it seems like these colorful creatures have a strong foothold in the area and won't be leaving any time soon!

OK, but seriously, parakeets in Connecticut.... Pretty weird!


  1. Nice! There are Peach-faced Lovebirds in my parents' neighborhood in Arizona, and I always love seeing them, even though I know that as a non-native species they might be having some negative effects on the other local birds.

  2. When we lived near the beach in West Haven we would have a 'fly over' every summer's day at approximately four p.m. - We loved it! I remember one winter, with snow on the ground, I was tsk-tsk that someone allowed fluorescent green papers to litter a small park lawn ... and then I realized ... it was the parrots! I know ... non-native problems ... but oh so cool!!!

    1. Yeah, I feel the same way! And wow, parakeets on the snow... That must've been quite a sight!