Monk(ey) Parakeets

April 13, 2014 at 7:53 am (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, , )

Monk Parakeet at feeder, Boynton Beach, Florida

Monk Parakeet at feeder, Boynton Beach, Florida

Some folks love these loud, noisy exotics.  Some people hate ’em.  The Monk Parakeet is a pet shop escapee (or likely set free by owners who tired of them) and is now a staple in Florida and other states.  It is also called the Quaker Parakeet or Monk Parrot.


They live and travel in flocks, and can be quite entertaining.  They are also a nuisance when they build their nests in transmission power lines and cause electrical shorts.

Monk Parkeet nests

Monk Parakeet nests

America once had the native Carolina Parakeet, but because they devastated apple orchards and other crops, farmers slaughtered them.  They were also hunted for their bright feathers, and by the 1920s they were considered extinct.  This is the painting of them by John James Audubon.

Some people believe the monk parakeet now occupies the niche once held by our native parakeet and does not compete with native birds.  Exotic animals and plants of many sorts are especially harmful because they do just that – they replace native species and cause problems their new ecosystem is not equipped to handle.

Monk parakeet with twig for its nest

Monk parakeet with twig for its nest

They do prefer urban and suburban habitats and man-made structures for building their nests, and in the same way some folks love watching the antics of squirrels, and some folks hate them – the monk parakeet also has its allies and enemies.


Apparently they make great, talkative pets.  But so many pet owners have no idea how harmful it is to release non-native animals into the wild when they tire of them, or that it is illegal to do so.  I, for one, enjoy them in the wild, the same as I enjoy feral horses in national parks and federal lands, and many species of beautiful non-native wildflowers that are now part of the landscape.  But I believe there should be a way of managing species when they harm the ecosystem, and it can be a very tricky public relations balancing act.  It doesn’t have to be a love-hate relationship.  It can be one of respect for both the immigrant, and the habitat they are damaging.  I’m glad I’m not the one to make those decisions.


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These photographs on Smugmug

Original hand-painted BW photographs for sale:  Etsy

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  1. ron said,

    Wow! The one flying with twig is surreal, as though it were a water-color illustration in an exotic novel. What is the price on this in an 8×10 w/o frame?

  2. Pam Leonard said,

    We can only hope the ones making the decisions are weighing them carefully.

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