Date of this Version
Parrots and parakeets have been brought into the United States for as long as our sailors have sailed to the distant tropics. In more recent years, the keeping of exotic pets increased to almost fad proportions. The pet shops and importers have kept the United States supplied with a vast array of these species. Among them is the Monk Parakeet. Large numbers of Monk Parakeets have been imported to satisfy the demand for parrot-like birds. The largest percentage of these birds went to pet stores and ultimately ended up in homes as pets. Unfortunately, some of these birds were released or escaped into the wild. New Jersey, in the winter of 1969-70 had its first report of wild Monk Parakeets in Middlebush. Two birds were identified as Monk Parakeets. Since then that particular flock has grown to eight or more parakeets. Although this is a small increase in three years it should be noted that the season in their native South America is the reverse of our own. It would seem that the mating season would need to be changed to coincide with the Northern Hemisphere for the young to survive. The climate in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Brazil is very similar to that of New York and New Jersey. The South American habitat is 20° - 48° South latitude, whereas New Jersey is 30° - 40° North latitude. In this three year period New Jersey has gone from one loca- tion to over 35 locations with 13 nests. In general, the parakeets are located in single or small flocks. Most sightings are in the more populated areas of the State. This is a belt 25 miles wide going from New York City southwest to Delaware. There do seem to be more birds directly across from New York City and Delaware than anywhere else along this belt.