After KSAT published a story last week about wild peacocks roaming San Antonio, a viewer sent in an email about a nest of what he referred to as monk parrots in his part of town.
KSAT has chosen not to reveal the nest’s exact location in an effort to protect the birds’ safety but we did reach out to Animal Care Services about these exotic birds.
“Monk parrots are also referred to as Quaker parrots. They’re actually a type of parakeet,” said ACS spokesperson Lisa Norwood. “They’re not native to Texas and are originally from South America-but they were popular as pets a few decades ago.”
Norwood said there are several groups of these parakeets around the city and that ACS is aware of at least one group at one of the San Antonio Missions. It’s believed that this group, and others, were likely started by a few of the parakeets that escaped or were let go by their owners.
According to the Texas Invasive Species Institute, Monk parakeets were introduced to the U.S. in the 1960s from South America as exotic pets.
“They become established due to their high tolerance for a wide range of temperatures, including extreme cold and hot weather,” the website states.
There are reportedly large numbers of them in Austin, Dallas and Houston, according to Norwood. She told KSAT that ACS sometimes gets calls about exotic birds like Monk parakeets but it’s generally an escaped pet situation.
“I can’t recall the last time there’s been [a phone call about the parakeets] but there have been, unfortunately, about half a dozen parakeets or so brought in from cruelty cases involving animal collectors,” Norwood said.
Monk parakeets are small and are easily spotted among other birds for their green plumage.
Interesting to note, you might hear a Monk parakeet before you see one.
“They are not only well known for their incessant squawking; they also are prone to throwing down and starting rumbles with each other and other flocks,” Norwood said.