The Big Picture: Feral monk parakeets are taking over.

CREDIT: Bernard DuPont.

Monk parakeets, also known as Quaker parrots, are a popular pet bird species native to South America. However, these birds have been introduced to many parts of the world as a result of the pet trade, and they have become an invasive species in several regions.

One of the main reasons that monk parakeets are considered invasive is that they are highly adaptable and can thrive in a variety of environments. They are known for building large communal nests, often on power poles or other structures, which can cause damage to infrastructure and pose a safety hazard. In addition, monk parakeets are highly social and can form flocks of hundreds of birds, which can cause damage to crops and other vegetation.

In many parts of the United States, monk parakeets have established breeding populations and are considered a threat to native bird species. They compete with other birds for food and nesting sites, and they may also prey on the eggs and young of other bird species. In some cases, monk parakeets have been known to displace native bird populations entirely.

Efforts to control the spread of monk parakeets have proven challenging. In some areas, attempts to remove nests have been met with resistance from animal rights activists who view the birds as harmless pets rather than invasive pests. In addition, the popularity of monk parakeets as pets means that there is a steady supply of new birds entering the pet trade and potentially being released into the wild.

While monk parakeets may be popular pets, they have proven to be a problematic invasive species in many parts of the world. More education and awareness is needed to help prevent the spread of these birds and protect native ecosystems.

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