November 27, 2005
Eradication of Parakeets Draws Protests
"United Illuminating, tired of pulling monk parakeet nests off utility
poles only to see the birds return and rebuild, began capturing the
parakeets about two weeks ago and handing them over to scientists from the
federal government to kill.
For the first few days, the euthanization went quietly. And then an
article in The Connecticut Post alerted local animal rights activists to
the procedure. Since then, it has been far from quiet."
A spokesman for the United Illuminating Company has said the company
"attempted numerous methods to remove the birds without killing them, but
the parakeets just kept coming back."
We read, "The nests, Mr. Carbone said, range from about 10 pounds up to
200 pounds and can contain as many as 40 to 50 birds. The twigs in the
nests sometimes push down on transformers and cause explosions, he said.
The company has attributed four fires over the last two years to the nests
and also blames the parakeets for 8 to 12 power interruptions every year."
Priscilla Feral, the president of Friends of Animals, in Darien, is
quoted: "'This is occasionally a problem and doesn't require a draconian
And according to the story, Representative Thomas Drew, a Democrat from
Fairfield, is attempting to get a moratorium on the eradication effort.
The article tells us that he called the practice ''kind of barbaric,'' and
said, ''If the damage is so severe and there is no realistic alternative
that's one thing. But that case hasn't been demonstrated to the public
Friends of Animals have posted the whole New York Times article on their
website at http://tinyurl.com/8thrk
You can send a letter to the editor of the New York Times at
An article in Connecticut's Record Journal, headed, "Lawmakers get
involved in fight to save parakeets" tell us:
"United Illuminating officials have agreed to meet with environmental
groups and state lawmakers at the Capitol on Tuesday to discuss the power
company's plan to eradicate monk parakeet nests from utility poles in
southern Connecticut. The meeting was called by State Rep. Richard Roy,
D-Milford, after environmentalists and members of the public spoke out
against killing the birds."
You'll find it on line at:
The Record Journal takes letters at firstname.lastname@example.org
My thanks to Elizabeth Boris for posting the link to that story and also
for contact information for Representative Dick Roy:
He deserves some encouraging thank-you notes.
Coincidentally, today, Monday, November 28, the Chicago Tribune has a
front page story headed, "Birds put on show at Shedd; The plucky monk
parakeet continues to branch out in sweet home Chicago."
It is about a colony of parakeets that lives next door to the Shedd
Aquarium. That positive article includes the following quote from a
trainer at the aquarium: "It's a thrill for our visitors and staff to see
them around here."
You can read the whole article on line at
Letters to the Chicago Tribune regarding the parakeet situation in
Connecticut could help make the eradication into a national issue.
The Chicago Tribune takes letters at
In March, this year, I sent out a personal rave review of a film called
"The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill," which also received rave reviews
from much of the media, including Roger Ebert, and from the San Francisco
Weekly, in which it was called a "Great, important and unforgettable
movie." It is a beautiful tale of one man's relationship with a colony of
wild parrots in San Francisco. I recommend it wholeheartedly. That film is
now out on DVD and available for rental from both Blockbuster.com and