I have known about the Monk Parakeet Colony at White Rock Lake for a number of years now. In fact I have already done a couple of articles on this particular colony. You can see those here: Strange Noises at White Rock Lake and here: White Rock Green.
Well, the other day I was stopped at the intersection of Royal Lane and Central Expressway. While I waited for the light to change, I saw a flash of green streak across the sky. And, then another. I rolled my windows down, and sure enough, there was the unmistakable squawking of Monk Parakeets coming from someplace nearby. This spot is nearly 6 miles/9.7 kilometers away from the White Rock Lake colony.
I didn’t have time to follow up then, but on the way home I started making plans. A quick search of the internet turned up information about several more colonies of feral Monk Parakeets scattered about the Dallas area. I decided to visit a few.
Monk Parakeets are highly intelligent and gregarious. They are attractive birds with feathers colored various shades of green. They have the ability to learn a large vocabulary of words and phrases. These characteristics make Monk Parakeets highly valued as pets.
The parakeet colonies here in North Texas are thought to be the descendents of escaped or released pet birds that made their getaways sometime in the 1960s. Monk Parakeets have been in Dallas for a long time.
These birds are native to temperate areas of South America, but they have successfully established and maintained colonies all around the world. They are reasonably cold tolerate, and have been able to sustain colonies in the United States as far north as New York City and Chicago.
Monk Parakeets adapt readily to urban areas and show a preference for electric substations as the place to build their communal nests. That is the case in all but one of the colonies I visited. The sole exception is a small colony living in Addison. This group of parakeets has built its nest in a medium-sized Live Oak, allowing us an idea of what one of these nest might look like in a more natural environment.
So, this week’s posts will document the locations of the five different colonies I found. I’m sure there are more. I hope you’ll let me know if you have Monk Parakeets in your neighborhood!