Over the past 7 years, Ph.D. student Kevin Burgio and the UConn Ornithology Research Group have been studying Monk Parakeets in order to learn more about how they build their nests on utility poles and how they are able to live in areas colder than their native range. The Monk Parakeet, a bird native to South America, has established populations in Connecticut and many other states in the past 50 years, not to mention in places such as Israel and Spain! In the parakeet’s history in Connecticut, they have proven to be a controversial public safety concern by building large nests on utility poles which can cause fires and power outages. Attempts by utility companies to manage the parakeet’s population have met with protests and lawsuits.
To address this problem, we have been studying the the nest-building behavior of these parakeets, with the ultimate goal of developing a cost-effective, non-lethal measure to deter birds from nesting on poles, reducing the conflict between parakeets and people. We also are broadly interested in their behavior, morphology, and physiology and how their adaptations allow them to live in areas both warmer and colder than their native range.
Please browse the site and learn more about these fascinating birds and contact us with any comments or questions you may have!
Photo credit: Sebboh Photography