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
Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel
Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy