More than 50 parrot species are now breeding far outside of their native ranges. If your city or town is home to a feral (released or escaped) population of parrots, the group City Parrots would like you to help out with the World Parrot Census.
Why Study Urban Parrots
Shrinking habitats and growing human populations have forced many wild animals into close contact with people. Sometimes, such as with the Peregrine Falcons that nest in the heart of New York City, all works out well…the coyotes that arrived there recently were, however, less welcome.
Either way, there will be more of the same in the future. Studying urban and suburban wildlife, including the many species that have become established in areas to which they are not native, is vital if we are to plan for the futures of both resident and introduced species.
A Surprising Trend
Interestingly, non-native parrots usually choose cities and towns over wild habitats when they find themselves in a foreign land. Tokyo, New York City, London and dozens of others are now home to an astonishing array of species, some of which seem poorly adapted to deal with concrete, crowds and severe winters. Yet adapt they do, and usually quite handily (please see articles below).
While many are hardy species long-known as good colonizers, such as Monk Parrots and Budgerigars, even rare and “delicate” parrots have found foreign cities to their liking. The Mexican Yellow-Headed Amazon, for example, is now breeding in Texas and, of all places, Stuttgart, Germany! Columbia’s Belem Zoo is even planning to release Golden Conures in an attempt to establish a population within the city of Belem.
City Parrot, based at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, is interested in learning how and why so many parrots thrive in urban centers. It is hoped that lessons learned in the process will be applicable to other wild creatures that must survive in degraded or modified habitats.
It stands to reason (at least to bird enthusiasts!), that introduced parrots would be more welcome than such urban invaders as Norway Rats, House Mice or German Roaches. However, their affects on native birds has not been well-researched. Parrots seem not to be causing any major problems, perhaps because oftentimes city-dwelling animals are themselves hardy, non-native species, but we really do not know for sure. Introduced species are a major cause of extinctions worldwide, and so the issue demands attention.
City Parrot is looking for volunteers to count parrots and to relay behavioral observations. Helping out is simple and, as I can attest from involvement with other “citizen-scientist” projects, a great deal of fun and very rewarding. Please see the article below to learn how to become involved in this very worthwhile effort.
Joining the World Parrot Census.
Ring-Necked Parrots in NYC.
Psittacula krameri in Amsterdam image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by David Evers and Snowmanradio
Cockatoo on Balcony image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Snowmanradio
Sulphur Crested Cockatoos Damaging Fascade image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Bidgee