Whole colonies have descended from a few pets that escaped or were freed by their owners, as the garrulous green birds have adapted to Chicago's temperate climate and spread beyond initial feral nesting sites in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood to more than 500 known locations.
Because information about Chicago's monk parakeets is anecdotal, a trio of Chicago university biology professors, curious to learn more, is enlisting the public's help in the "Chicago Parakeet Project."
"We're trying to find the location of every nest in the city and surrounding areas so we can learn more about habitat preferences, why they chose to nest in certain places, and also to understand the pattern of where they spread and predict where they may be going," said Emily Minor, assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Minor, along with colleagues Stephen Pruett-Jones of the University of Chicago and Christopher Appelt of St. Xavier University, have developed an easy-to-use online survey for the public to report parakeet sites. The site is www.uic.edu/labs/minor/chicago-parakeet.html.
"All we really need is an address or cross-street location of the nests," said Minor. "We plan to visit each nest and collect data that may be hard for the public to collect."
Minor, a landscape ecologist and mapping expert who is interested in large spatial patterns and the spread of invading species, joined Pruett-Jones and Appelt after learning of their work.
Together, the group hopes to study the spatial dispersion of nests and the long-term changes in the population. Other possible research areas include the effects of this exotic bird species on native bird communities.
Minor says the birds have been tracked as far as 20 miles from the original Hyde Park sites where they were first noticed in the 1960s. Their nests are high up in trees and in structures such as power-line towers and poles, where large nests have been known to catch fire. Nests can be communal, like an apartment complex for birds.
"A nest can be many feet tall and wide," said Minor. "They're often high up."
But it's the birds' sound that may catch your attention first, Minor said. "Like a normal parrot, they're pretty loud."
The parakeets survive Chicago winters if they can find warm nesting spots and bird-feeders. The birds have a diverse diet, which helps survival. While sometimes considered an agricultural pest in their native Argentina, monk parakeets have not yet been found raiding cropland beyond the Chicago metropolitan area.
Released or escaped monk parakeets have thrived in other large cities in temperate climate zones, but research on how this invasive species has spread is scant. The Chicago parakeet project may yield clues about why this subtropical pet shop bird has taken a shine to the big city lights up north.
"I think this is a really cool project and rare opportunity to see a species invasion in progress," Minor said. "You don't get to see this often. You usually see it after it happens, not while it's happening."
Paul Francuch | Newswise Science News
The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona
Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research