Q: Where are they found in Connecticut?
A: Monk Parakeets can be found on the coast of Connecticut between Greenwich and Old Saybrook. Notable colonies exist in Stratford, West Haven, New Haven, New Britain, and Hamden. If you see a Monk Parakeet (or a Monk Parakeet nest), please let us know sending us a message via our contact page!
Q: How do they survive through our cold winters?
A: The Monk Parakeet is native to the sub-tropical region of South America. In Chicago, Illinois, they have lived though winters that have seen temperatures as low as -33° F (1). The Monk Parakeet can lower its metabolic rate during cold evenings by almost half their normal, daytime rates (2), allowing them to save energy. Their ability to regulate their metabolism, coupled with the thermal insulation provided by their nests (3), and communal roosting may be what allows them to persist during our cold winters. It is thought that the Monk Parakeet has the physiological capacity to live in any climate of the world, except for water-less deserts and subarctic/arctic conditions (2).
Q: Do they harm native species or are they bad for our ecosystem?
A: There has yet to be any published research that addresses these questions. So far, some have speculated that Monk Parakeets have no negative effect on native species (4), but it is possible that as their population grows and spreads, they may start impacting native species. Without any direct research, the answer remains unclear. However, another non-native parrot species found in the UK, the Rose-ringed Parakeet, has been shown to negatively impact foraging in native birds species (5).
If you have any questions not answered here, contact us here!
1. Bump. 1971. The South American Monk, Quaker, or Gray-headed Parakeet. Wildl. Leaflet 496. U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv. 2. Weathers and Caccamise. 1975. Temperature regulation and water requirements of the Monk Parakeet. Oecologia 18:329-342. 3. Caccamise and Weathers. 1977. Winter nest microclimate of Monk Parakeets. Wilson Bulletin 89:346-349. 4. Burger and Gochfeld. 2009. Exotic Monk Parakeets in New Jersey: nest site selection, rebuilding following removal, and their urban wildlife appeal. Urban Ecosystems 12:185-196. 5. Peck et al. 2014. Experimental evidence of impacts of an invasive parakeet on foraging behavior of native birds. Behavioral Ecology 25(3):582-590.