Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Monk Parakeets

I love these little parrots!  Seeing them around town is such a thrill, even though they're not at all rare or unusual.  Monk parakeets, also known as Quaker parrots, are native to South America but feral populations exist in North America and parts of Europe.  They build large nests of sticks, often in utility towers, and are very vocal.  I usually hear them before I ever see them.  They are sociable birds, and seem to hang around in family groups.  I understand they are routinely kept as pets and can even learn to talk.  Monk parakeets are a temperate-zone sort of parrot and can survive winters in much of the United States.

Good picture of monk parakeet from Wikimedia Commons
Because they are an introduced species, there is a concern that they may become agricultural pests, but I am not aware of any areas where this has occurred.  In fact, parakeets in Brooklyn have been found to reduce the problem of pigeon overpopulation.  They don't appear to compete with native nesting birds because they tend to prefer man-made structures for building their large nests.  Although they have the potential to disturb grain fields, they tend to prefer urban areas.  Monk parakeets are also very well-adapted to backyard bird-feeders -- and how I wish they would come to mine!

A dozen blurry monk parakeets and one starling
The picture above was taken this morning from my driveway.  I apologize for the quality -- the camera lenses were still foggy and so was I.  But there are 12 monk parakeets on the power line there, along with one slightly suspicious starling.

1 comment:

  1. I did not know the US had these parakeets, or any parrot for that matter. They are little cuties.