Chicago Parakeet Project takes flight

September 22, 2009 10:18:50 AM PDT
Scientists who are tracking Chicago's wild monk parakeets are turning to the public for help in locating their nests. The monk parakeets, which are also called Quaker parrots, originate in South America. In the 1960s, the first wild monk parakeets were observed in Hyde Park. Since then, they have spread to surrounding areas.

The bright green, medium-sized birds are believed to be descendants of pets that either escaped or were released by owners. The birds, whose nests are made entirely of sticks and can get very large, have adapted to Chicago's cold winters.

Three universities- University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Chicago and St. Xavier University- are teaming up to map the nest locations of the monk parakeets in the Chicago area. Chicago Parakeet Project will study the patterns of the birds.

The public is asked to contribute the locations of the nests at the UIC website by filling out a survey.

The UIC website, http://www.uic.edu/labs/minor/chicago-parakeet.html, also plans to offer an interactive map of the more than 500 known nests once the project is complete.


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