How about Monk Parakeet? Well, if you visit some urban areas in northern New Jersey, the answer is “Yes”!
I blogged last week about my Big Year birding adventures in the Meadowlands and surrounding areas. Bill Margaretta and I spent an amazing day birding through some great natural areas hidden away in highly urbanized areas.
We also spent a small amount of time birding on street corners in Carteret, hoping to locate the large stick nests of Monk Parakeets. These small parrots were imported as pets during the late 1960’s. Some probably escaped while others were no doubt release by their owners. Because they are a bird of temperate climates, Monk Parakeets have been able to establish several successful feral colonies in areas of the United States as far north as Chicago, Connecticut, and (yes) New Jersey. Recently, the birding powers here in New Jersey decided that the Monk Parakeet was “countable”, so I resolved to track them down.
Actually, they’re not that hard to find. Go to the designated street corner and look up. Giant stick nest built near the transformer on a power pole is your first clue. Second, the raucous calls of the colony’s birds which I heard, pretty much, the entire time I was there. And in my case, third, the five or six birds that decide to dive bomb me because I apparently got too close to their nest. Ahhhhh…the life of a birder!
So I got a pretty green parrot to add to my New Jersey Big Year list. How cool is that?