Selected Articles from our
The C.A.S.H. Courier
ARTICLES from the Spring 2007 Issue
Pointless Mass Murders Of Monk Parakeets
Injured Monks, crammed into a
small cage, following the destruction of their nest. They were all
The beautiful and highly
intelligent Monk Parakeet, also called Wild Quaker Parrots, comprises
the largest group of the nine species of wild parrots in the United
States. They are originally a sub-tropical species, native to Brazil and
Argentina, but have acclimated themselves to North American climates as
feral descendants of the many original birds imported as pets.
Although this urban and
suburban parrot is non-aggressive and poses no significant threat to
agriculture, the US Fish and Wildlife Service 30 years ago mistakenly deemed
them to be a pest, and has cooperated with utility companies in efforts to
eradicate the birds. In the early 1970s, 40% of the birds were eliminated
nationwide, and in California, the bird colonies were wiped out.
Power company workers
routinely kill the birds when they find their nests on transmission lines.
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut are among the states that sanction
the wanton murders of these harmless birds. In Florida, the Department of
Transportation also assists power companies in the mass killings.
To take just one horrific
instance, in Connecticut, the United Illuminating Company asked the US Fish
and Wildlife Service to kill over 150 parakeets, and they complied! Among
methods used to kill the birds is the use of carbon dioxide. Birds who
escaped were equally doomed, as the large nests they need to survive
northern winters were destroyed at night in the dead of winter weather,
ensuring that the helpless birds and their young would freeze to death.
Part of the problem, at
least in New Jersey and Connecticut, is that the Monk Parakeet was wrongly
classified over 30 years ago as a “potentially dangerous species,” despite
the fact that they are not harmful to native species or crops.
The birds live mostly in
urban and suburban areas, not farmland. Writing in Bird Talk magazine, Dr.
Donald Brightsmith said, “Their potential for causing great damage to US
agriculture is minimal.”
In an interesting case of
an alleged “invasive” species being welcomed, the management of Brooklyn’s
Greenwood Cemetery considers the Monk who roost in the magnificent Gothic
spire on the cemetery gate to be beneficial in comparison to other species
as the Monk’s excrement does not cause deterioration of the civil-war era
In New Jersey, an effort
is underway to pass a Senate bill that would remove the Monk Parakeet from
the dangerous list, and help to protect their nests and eggs, which
currently suffer terribly inhumane treatment because of sheer ignorance. It
would also remove the fine of $5000 currently levied for anyone aiding these
beleaguered birds. And even more useful for preserving the parakeets, the
bill would permit caring people to build alternative nesting platforms to
help prevent future clashes with utility companies.
The bill, which states that the birds and their nests must be protected by
the DEP and other government agencies, just as other non-game birds are,
passed the NJ State Assembly unanimously, but it has yet to go to the Senate
Environmental Committee. It is an urgent matter, for if the bill is not
entered into the Senate schedule within a brief time frame, it lapses, and
its supporters have to start from scratch. Any delay means the potential
unnecessary death of many more birds.
Monk parakeets have lived
wild and free in New Jersey and other parts of the nation for over 30 years.
It would be a terrible shame if this very simple protective measure were not
enacted quickly to save them from more needless suffering.
If you’d like to help save
the Monk Parakeet and get them off the “dangerous” list, call, write or
e-mail the members of the New Jersey Senate Environmental Committee today,
asking them for an immediate hearing on S1768. Be sure to include your name
and address for verification.
Bill S1768 is
awaiting hearing by the Senate Environmental Committee. The sister bill
(A1237) already passed unanimously in the State Assembly.
Wild Monk Parakeets are
not deserving of their notorious reputation. The Edgewater Parrots team
can’t do anything unless the bill is passed.
C.A.S.H. is very grateful
to Alison Evans-Fragale for all of the information that she shares on
www.edgewaterparrots.com and all of her work to protect the Monks.
This article was compiled by E.M. Fay Associate Editor,
What we've been up to:
A fitting sidebar to this is that Wildlife Watch was contacted about a
parrot who was flying around a monastery in Esopus NY. We should have known
he was a Monk! The priests were worried that he would freeze to death in the
winter. Wildlife Watch set up a large parrot cage on the property with a
string that ran into the TV room of the monastery facing the cage and the
bird feeder that had originally attracted the bird. Sadly, we could never
get him, but when someone identified him as a Monk, we were relieved to hear
that he most likely had a safe warm home for the winter. –
One Day International
Conference on the Relationship between Animal Abuse and Human
Keble College, Oxford, United
Kingdom, 18 September, 2007
Please see their
website for more