Several weeks ago I was contacted with a Monk Parakeet sighting in Richardson, Texas near the intersection of Plano Road and Arapaho Road. I wasn’t aware of a colony in that area, so this was a report that definitely needed to be checked out.

Monk Parakeets in the Dallas area are the descendants of pet birds released over the years. These highly social birds seek each other out and establish large colonies. For some strange reason, these birds have a strong preference for electrical substations as nesting sites. With this in mind, I was sure finding the location of the colony would not be difficult.

Sure enough, a quick look at Google Maps revealed an electrical substation just a couple of hundred yards/meters south of where the reported parakeet was seen. I planned a trip to investigate.

I arrived at the electrical substation around noon on a cold January day. The tell-tale clumps of sticks that make up the Monk Parakeet’s massive nests were easy to see as we pulled into an adjacent parking lot.

I didn’t expect to see many parakeets on site, though, because I was sure that the low temperature would encourage to the birds to hunker down in their nests to stay warm. As it turned out, my expectations were wrong. The colony was full of noisy, bright green birds busying themselves with socializing and nest maintenance.

Clumps of sticks indicative of Monk Parakeet nests are visible on this Richardson electrical substation.
Clumps of sticks indicative of Monk Parakeet nests are visible on this Richardson electrical substation.
Monk Parakeet nests are constructed from twigs that are very nearly uniform in diameter and length.
Monk Parakeet nests are constructed from twigs that are very nearly uniform in diameter and length.
Each nest houses several birds.
Each nest houses several birds.
Despite the cold weather the Monk Parakeets were out in force on this day.
Despite the cold weather the Monk Parakeets were out in force on this day.
One bird scratches...
One bird scratches…
...then the other bird scratches.
…then the other bird scratches.
A Monk Parakeet near the entrance to its nest.
A Monk Parakeet near the entrance to its nest.
A Monk Parakeet in Richardson, Texas.
A Monk Parakeet in Richardson, Texas.
Many of the birds were activity repairing or enlarging their nests.
Many of the birds were activity repairing or enlarging their nests.
A Monk Parakeet in Richardson, Texas
A Monk Parakeet in Richardson, Texas
Several birds live in each nest.  They work together to keep the nests in good shape.
Several birds live in each nest. They work together to keep the structures in good shape.
Contributing another twig to the effort.
Contributing another twig to the effort.
The twig was carefully put into position.
The twig was carefully put into position.

Observation Details

County Dallas
City Richardson
Date Jan 4, 2013
Time of Day Noon
Temperature Cold (less than 50°F/10°C)
Weather Overcast
Habitat Commercial-Industrial/Warehouse
Type of Behavior Nesting
Gender Mixed
Maturity Adult
Observer Chris Jackson
Main Article Monk Parakeet Observation Location