Sunday, April 01, 2007

Monk Parakeets, No Foolin'!

A few days earlier, Paul emailed that another birder was reporting some nesting Monk Parakeets not too far from my house. By the time I could have gotten there that night it would ahve been near dark so I planned on trying for them after banding.

Directions placed me at an intersection with a convenience store on one side and a power substation on the other. Since I have seen parrots and parakeets hanging out at substations around Tampa/St. Pete I decided that must be the best place to look. The direction didn't pinpoint any one exact spot.

My main concern in these times of paranoid officials was who was going to jump me once I started scanning such a structure with binoculars. There have been many reports of birders being detained or questioned intensely by Men in Black just because they were staring in the direction of some government structure or another.

Luckily, I didn't have time to look too hard.

As I approached the the intersection I heard a loud noise behind me, away from the substation. I tracked the noise to a telephone pole located just behind the store. Whew.

The light was bad as it was noon and the birds were up in the transformer on the pole. The only spot to stand was next to a ditch in order to see the birds. There were 4 shapes that I could make out and the nest was obvious. After a few minutes, one of the birds walked out to the edge of the nest.

Monk Parakeet

A minute later another pulled a stick out to the edge and tryed to place it in the right spot.

Monk Parakeet

I have been meaning to track down Monk Parakeets for years but never found a chance. Nice to have them even closer this time.

Meanwhile, the morning banding session yielded the usual suspects, including this beautiful male Prairie Warbler.

Prairie Warbler

We checked out the nest boxes again and now there were 4 eggs in the nest. As we approached, there were 2 Bluebirds in the area, one of which was the bird we banded the week before.

Eastern Bluebird

Not a bad April Fool's Day. No tricks.

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