Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

October 1973


Attention was focused on the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) in New York State in 1971 when the first successful breeding record was documented for the state although Monk Parakeets had been noticed in New York and New Jersey since 1968 (Bull, 1971). Since 1971 awareness of the bird’s potential for becoming an established species in New York has spread through several segments of the state’s populace. This awareness has been created primarily through two articles in the magazine published by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), The Conservationist (Trimm, 1972) (Trimm, 1973); several articles in popular magazines, Parade, Yankee, Sports Afield; journals, American Birds and Kingbird; county cooperative extension bulletins and newsletters; and in numerous newspapers throughout the Northeast. The Monk Parakeet is about 12 inches long (Mourning Dove size), weighs about 90 grams, and is native to Argentina and other temperate regions of South America. The bird is pale green with a soft gray forehead and breast, some blue on the flight feathers and a flesh-colored bill. They are gregarious throughout the year. The Monk Parakeet differs from other members of the parrot family in that it builds large communal nests of sticks. Each pair of parakeets has its own private compartment with a downward-pointing tunnel entrance from the inner unlined compartment. The nest is used as sleeping quarters year round and live twigs cut by the bird are continually added to the structure (Bump, 1971). A brief review of the bird’s history in New York shows that the bird remained a mere curiosity until 1972. At that time, because the population seemed to be increasing and because information gleaned from the literature and from those with first-hand experience with the bird in its native haunts of South America indicated that the bird posed a serious potential agricultural problem, several prominent individuals, birding and conservation societies, and state and federal agencies took the position that the bird should be retrieved or removed from the wild.