Saturday, March 21, 2009

Messing with Paradise: Monk parakeets

Today, we are beginning a series of photographs documenting Florida's endangered species as well as it's exotic, non-native and invasive species.

Monk parakeet

Deerfield Beach
Photo by Mark M.


From the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

First year: 1969

Established status:
Populations are confirmed breeding and apparently self-sustaining for 10 or more consecutive years

Estimated Florida range:
52 counties At least 10 years

Statewide trend:

Threats to natives:
Effects on native species is unknown. It is the most abundant naturalized parrot species and the only member of the parrot family that is not a cavity nester. Tested birds seem to be remarkably free of Newcastle and other avian diseases.

Species Account:
The Monk Parakeet is native to South America east of the Andes from Bolivia to central Argentina (Forshaw 1973). Its initial introduction date into Florida is unknown, but it has been established in the Miami area since at least 1969 (Owre 1973). By 1975, this species was reported from 30 states, but large colonies existed only in Florida, California, Illinois, and New York (Neidermyer and Hickey 1977). It is often found in city parks. Large communal stick nests built on electrical transmission structures can be a problem. These large balls of twigs are used year-round for roosting by adults and are often situated high in royal palms, cabbage palms, melaleucas, or native oaks (Florida BBA 1986-91). The species is highly gregarious, and many colonies in Dade and Pinellas counties number in the hundreds and have persisted for many years, whereas small colonies tend to be ephemeral (Florida BBA 1986-91). No eradication program has been implemented in Florida. In its native range, Monk Parakeets inhabit open woods, cultivated lands, and palm groves (de Schauensee 1970), but in Florida, they inhabits surburban areas, often feeding in large flocks at feeders or on lawns (Florida BBA 1986-91), probably on grass seeds and insects (Forshaw 1973). It is a major agricultural pest in South America (Long 1981) and may become one in Florida if it spreads to agricultural areas.

Central or core urban area, Low density suburban development, areas peripheral to core urban areas, and small towns.

Local note: We have a local colony in St. Augustine but I have never been able to find them.

1 comment:

MightyMom said...

so they're camera shy too...otherwise they would come and pose for you!

think somone bought a couple to keep as pets then released them thus starting the trend??