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monk parakeets versus pigeons

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Offline lucy

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« on: February 07, 2007, 21:37 PM »
I saw an amusing thing today in a square in Barcelona.  There were about 15 parakeets in a tree, each holding a slice of bread.  On the ground below pigeons competed for crumbs, while in the tree the parakeets held their pieces of bread in one claw, and daintily nibbled at the white bit leaving round rings of crust.  I didn’t see if they discarded the crusts for the pigeons, or were just saving them till last.

Offline nick

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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2007, 21:48 PM »
Excellent, what a shame you didn't get a photo.

As somebody said, there is beauty and information everywhere.

Nick
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Offline nick

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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2007, 16:56 PM »
Today's La Vanguardia has this report on monks. A nest was recently removed weighing almost 100 kilos and had 30 chambers!
http://www.lavanguardia.es/gen/20070216/51308461880/noticias/la-colonia-de-cotorras-supera-los-2.000-ejemplares-en-barcelona-y-causa-preocupacion-en-los-tecnicos-baix-llobregat-sarria-horta-estados-unidos.html

La colonia de cotorras supera los 2.000 ejemplares en Barcelona y causa preocupación en los técnicos
· Los nidos de estas aves pesan unos 50 kilos, lo que supone un serio riesgo para los viandantes
· Los especialistas aseguran que incluso pueden llegar a matar un árbol
· Sólo las 200 detectadas en el Baix LLobregat han dañado 100.000 toneladas

Pequeñas, graciosas y, aunque tremendamente ruidosas, despiertan la simpatía de la población. Es la cotorra argentina, una especie que supera ya los 2.000 ejemplares sólo en Barcelona y que se está convirtiendo en un verdadero quebradero de cabeza para los expertos, quienes alertan de que si no se empiezan a tomar medidas drásticas pronto, a la larga podrían convertirse en una nueva plaga para la ciudad similar a las palomas. Estas últimas ya suman 180.000 en la ciudad y su control hasta ahora es prácticamente imposible.

En la zona montañosa de los distritos de Sarrià y Horta, donde muchos vecinos cultivan pequeños huertos con árboles frutales, ya han comenzado a notar los efectos de convivir con una colonia de cotorras. En época de recolecta, los dejan prácticamente limpios. "Hemos recibido muchas llamadas de estos vecinos hartos ya de las cotorras", explicaba ayer Juan Carlos Senar, jefe de investigación del Museu de Ciències Naturals. Senar dirige desde el 2001 un estudio encargado por el Ayuntamiento y la Generalitat sobre la evolución de esta especie y sus consecuencias, cuyos resultados comienzan a ser alarmantes.

Los efectos más graves se centran en la agricultura -en las huertas del Baix Llobregat una pequeña colonia de 200 cotorras llegó a dañar casi 100.000 tomates-, pero los efectos en la ciudad no dejan de ser menores. Los principales se localizan en los árboles ornamentales, cuyas ramas utilizan para hacer sus nidos. "Son capaces de matar un árbol", asegura Senar. Se calcula que pueden llegar a utilizar 20.000 pequeñas ramas entretejidas en nidos que de media pueden alcanzar los 50 kilos de peso.

"Son como casitas adosadas en las alturas. Nichos que cada pareja va construyendo una al aldo de la otra hasta hacer un nido comunitario", cuenta Víctor Peratxo, jefe del Servei d´Higiene Pública i Zoonosi de la Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona. El mayor nido localizado en la ciudad alcanzaba casi los 100 kilos y contaba con unas 30 cámaras. "Ahora no son tan grandes porque los técnicos de Parcs i Jardins los quitan cuando podan los árboles", cuenta Senar. Sólo el año pasado, durante el periodo de poda, el Institut Municipal de Parcs i Jardins retiró alrededor de 70 de estos nidos.

Lo que empezó en su día como una curiosidad es hoy una plaga en potencia. El primer avistamiento de una pareja de cotorras argentinas se dio en 1975. Al parecer, alguien que las compró como aves exóticas de compañía las dejó en libertad. "Eran muy baratas y la gente las compraba sin tener en cuenta que son agresivas y que hacen un ruido tremendo. Son originarias de América del Sur y, de hecho, en Argentina, así como en Estados Unidos, son una plaga de considerables dimensiones que produce cada año millones de pérdidas sobre todo en la agricultura", cuenta Senar.

El primer estudio sobre esta colonia se realizó en el 2001, cuando la población de cotorras se estimaba en Barcelona en torno a las 1.500. Estaban sobre todo establecidas en la Diagonal y el parque de la Ciutadella, por la alta presencia de palmeras, su árbol por excelencia.

Pero desde entonces, cualquier árbol de entre ocho y quince metros de altura ha sido susceptible de ser colonizado. De hecho se han encontrado nidos en plataneros, pinos e incluso farolas, dispersados ya por prácticamente toda la ciudad. Así como en los árboles frutales de los huertos privados de Sarrià y Horta han llegado a acabar con casi el80% de la producción, en los cultivos del Baix Llobregat también están causando verdaderos destrozos. Los últimos estudios estimaron que en la temporada del tomate una colonia de 200 cotorras llegó a dañar alrededor de 100.000 unidades valoradas económicamente en torno a los 7.800 euros. "Si sólo una pequeña colonia es capaz de hacer eso, imagínense de lo que serían capaces 180.000, que es el número de palomas que tenemos actualmente".

El ruido que emiten estas cotorras no parece molestar de momento a la ciudadanía a tenor de las denuncias que recibe la Agència de Salut Pública. Apenas tres a lo largo del 2006. Por ello, la Administración no se ha planteado llevar a cabo ninguna acción de control. "La única alternativa posible es la eliminación progresiva de los ejemplares, pero eso no se puede hacer si no se cuenta con la complicidad de la resumen.
Nick
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Offline lucy

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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2007, 13:25 PM »
There are some mega-sized nests in Palau Reial in the towering pines.  Once the weight of one of the nests snapped the branch supporting it, and it hung down suspended until they got a crane in to cut it off.  The parakeets are like DIY fanatics, always flying about the park with twigs in their beaks, constantly improving their nests.  So far they've stuck to one part of the park, the noisy side, and there's been a quiet side to take refuge in, but I fear this isn't going to last long.

Offline Dave

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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2007, 13:54 PM »
Hi Lucy
Any chance of a photo of the parakeets and their nests
Regards
Dave

Offline lucy

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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2007, 18:06 PM »
I took my very basic camera to the park today to get some shots - not the best quality, but hopefully they'll give an idea.  It's hard to judge because the nests are so high up, but the biggest has to be about 1.5 metres long.  In one of the shots hopefully you can make out the round entrance holes and a parakeet sitting at the bottom.  There's another of a smaller nest at the end of an isolated branch.

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2007, 09:47 AM »
Greetings All,
Interesting article from the Ibernature web site dated just over a year ago:

Alert on possible mass release of exotic cage birds due to bird flu panic
23/02/06. SEO/BirdLife is concerned about the mass release of exotic cage birds (parrots, parakeets, etc) due to the panic over bird flu resulting from the lack of real information available (and because people always panic).


See full article on Ibernature web site:
http://www.iberianature.com/material/spain_bird_flu.htm

Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Tore

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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2007, 23:52 PM »
We have a lot of the Monk parakeets around Boadilla. In fact at work we had several of the exact same pine trees with enormous colonies described above. Huge levels of activity and noise. The Ajunitamenta turned up last summer with a mobile crane and cut down and destoyed the lot.
So much for been a feral species (as I understand originally from caged birds from Argentina). They are very industrious though, and we notice that they have just moved further down the road and are starting to rebuild.
Have to say that that they do provide an exotic touch to the local area though.
Tore
Tore

Offline nick

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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2007, 12:37 PM »
I received this email this morning. It's based on this article http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/260758/0/autorizan/caza/cotorras/ . Although I have grown to love this pesky fellows I myself have no intention of signing this petition as potentially monk parakeets could cause big problems in the surrounding countryside to farming and wildlife. I hope they are only going to reduce numbers. If you don't agree with me, please sign their petition.

Nick

"Dear Mr Lloyd,
A contact e-mailed me yesterday about the planned wild parrot hunt in Barcelona. I am based in Brooklyn and the monk parakeets live here peacefully with other wildlife. I am shocked and discouraged by this planned action and am organizing a protest. But there is not much I can do on this side of the Atlantic. What's needed are voices in Spain that are against it.

I have written about this issue and have an online petition. If you could spread the word in Europe, I'd be grateful"
Full story here:

http://www.brooklynparrots.com/2007/07/very-bad-news-from-spain.html

Thanks,
Steve Baldwin
The Brooklyn Parrot Society

« Last Edit: July 20, 2007, 12:39 PM by nick »
Nick
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Offline lucy

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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2007, 13:35 PM »
I agree with you Nick.  In the city they aren't too destructive, but their forays into the countryside are another matter.  But I also hope the plan is only to control the population, as the idea of Barcelona without them seems shocking. Mind you, I probably wouldn't think so if there was a colony outside my window.

Offline lucy

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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2007, 20:52 PM »
The park is littered with fallen acorns, and squirrels are out in force. I was a bit surprised to see that monk parakeets aren’t averse to nibbling on an acorn either.

Offline Clive

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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2007, 21:11 PM »
Hi all

These guys are just survivors aren't they? I am sure that acorns aren't on the menu back in Argentina....

what's the news on the proposed cull?

Clive
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2007, 21:20 PM »
And some fascinating if a bit repetitive information at
http://www.knottybits.com/bio648/monkparrot.html

Bear with it and it is actually very informative...........

Who knows how many Monks parakeets were imported to Spain/Europe in the last 30 years

:)
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Offline lucy

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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2007, 23:00 PM »
I haven't heard anything more about the proposed cull, but I think in the park some of the bigger nests have been removed: either that or they fell down during a storm.  That doesn't put the Monks off at all - they just start again from scratch.   There certainly hasn't been any change in squawking decibel levels.

Offline glennie

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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2007, 09:11 AM »
And the noice they make! Pity anyone near a nest!

Something tells me they are really out of place here.