Invasive species are often overlooked as an environmental threat, yet sometimes the opposite reaction happens and too much time and effort is put into getting rid of them. This is the case of the monk parakeet in Chicago. As a bird native to South America, it is not native to Chicago’s biosphere, yet it is adored by many Chicagoans and is allowed to live in Hyde Park. This raises the question on what non-native species should be ignored, and what species need to be dealt with.
The monk parakeet firs began to be spotted in Chicago in the 1970’s; the monk parakeet is a small parrot with a white belly and a light green back. It is a proficient pest in it’s native range because it eats’ a lot of crops, so Illinois state government was worried the population in Hyde park would become a pest as well. They were stopped from going on an eradication campaign because people liked how the monk parakeet was so colorful a bird in winter, and further study showed that the local population of monk parakeets were not spreading far or eating crops.
This does not mean the monk parakeet is completely harmless, they build large nests of twigs in large colonies on utility poles, making them a fire hazard, workers have to remove any found on utility poles. So while the monk the public may love parakeet, it is still a nuisance to utilities, and so far there is no easy solution.
Gobster, Paul H. “Visions of Nature: Conflict and Compatibility in Urban Park Restoration.” Landscape and Urban Planning 56.1-2 (2001): 35-51. Web.
Schulman, Donna Lynn. “The Parakeet of City Streets, the Monk Parakeet.” 10,000 Birds. 10,000 Birds, 21 July 2014. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.
“Welcome to the University of Chicago Magazine Online.” Welcome to the University of Chicago Magazine Online. University of Chicago, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.