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
Friends of Animals