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Birds need only common-sense alternatives

February 19, 2006 | Monk Parakeet / Legislature
Published in The Connecticut Post under Commentary, Page A-10, on February 18, 2006

State Rep. Richard Roy (D-Milford) made headlines for thinking a monk parakeet expert -- the biology department head in one of our state universities -- just might have something wise to say about monk parakeets ["Bird flap continues," Connecticut Post, Feb. 14].

Thus, Roy will push to remove monk parakeets from the state's invasive species list.

"The Connecticut General Assembly could vote to make them non-invasive," as USDA spokesperson Corey L. Slavitt explained last year ["Power company says it won't capture any more birds this year," Associated Press, Dec. 6]. Why? Contrary to predictions of decades back, the birds have not damaged the ecosystem.

What's controversial is parrot eradication for utility companies -- not the birds. Whether birds seem "friendly" or "meddlesome" is no criterion for killing them in carbon dioxide chambers.

Ironically, some customers lost electricity for the first time when contractors yanked down accumulated nesting material in the controversial scheme. Better maintenance is needed, as are common-sense alternatives.

Given that Dwight Smith, the monk parakeet expert, says the birds are enmeshed in the natural ecology, good sense means guiding birds away from utility poles. Taking the initiative, homeowners have coaxed the birds to alternative nesting platforms. And, in contrast with the gassing plan, no one gave those residents $125,000 in public funds to implement that sensible idea.

Priscilla Feral
President
Friends of Animals
Darien

Comments

The "invasive species" concept is often offensive to me. Most of such species came involuntarily. It's kind of like calling the slaves "invaders." And it is arrogant, as well as impossible, to set nature back to how it was. My goodness, Monk parakeets living in the eden of urban Stamford are disrupting the ecosystem by nesting next to a highway. Insanity.

How wonderful that FOA was successful to this degree! I am so relieved to read this. However, when they say "this year" that was 2005. Power companies are big business, of course, and I think they still need to be constantly monitored (for this and any other year). But of course, I'm sure you've thought of that. If the homeowners want their money back, I think we should donate it for them, as much as we can. For the animals, Maxine

yes, I have to agree that the name "invasive species" is a misnomer. The reason being that the animals were put here by humans and released by humans; whether on accident or purpose. [Blog editors' note: The homo sapien is an invasive species who mostly increases its consumptive behaviors, while expecting all other species to get out of the way. A topic, perhaps, for a future blog item?]

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