Big Year Birding – Looking for Parakeets in New Jersey


There are birds that you expect to find living in the cities and towns of New Jersey.  Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Blue Jay.  All common.

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?

Good birding!



4 thoughts on “Big Year Birding – Looking for Parakeets in New Jersey

  1. Sandra Keller

    I still need to chase them for New Jersey! I am waiting for them to come down here to south Jersey!

  2. Patrick

    My 500th ABA bird was an accidental sighting of a Monk Parakeet. While looking for the Western Reef Heron in Brooklyn back in 2007 (which was going to be #500), a big group of Monk Parakeets flew over. Realizing they were countable, they became #500.

    1. njbigyear Post author

      Pretty cool to have these little parrots hanging around in New Jersey. Something completely different from my “regular” birding experience here. Thanks for your comment!!


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