THE SENTINEL EDITOR ELLEN KRUEGER VISITS THE WILD QUAKERS IN THE WILDS OF BROOKLYN, NY. THE SENTINEL Editor, Ellen Krueger, celebrated Mother's Day, May, 2005, with daughter, Lauren, and the wild Quakers in Brooklyn, NY. Guided by BrooklynParrots.com host, Steve Baldwin, Ellen said that the moment she stepped out of the car, she heard the unmistakable sound of Quaker voices, in trees, on utility poles, fences, and on the ground. Quakers, Quakers, everywhere! 

For information on viewing the Brooklyn Quakers, including area and location map, click on BrooklynParrots.com above. Ellen published an extensive article about her tour of the Brooklyn Quakers in the 2005 Summer issue of THE SENTINEL and an article featuring Texas wild Quakers in the 2006 Fall issue. THE SENTINEL is QPS' quarterly journal. Included with yearly membership dues, THE SENTINEL averages 60 pages per issue. THE SENTINEL is the only publication devoted exclusively to Quaker Parakeets. Contributors to the SENTINEL are professional and hobbyist writers, avian behaviorists, Quaker breeders, enthusiasts and owners. Each issue of the SENTINEL shares with its readers the joy of living with a companion Quaker, the latest information available on Quaker health, care, and behavior, as well as updates on Quakers in the wild and legislation. To learn more about THE SENTINEL, click on it in the top navigation menu. To join QPS and begin receiving THE SENTINEL, click on MEMBERSHIP in the top navigation menu. >All photos on this page are copywritten to Ellen Krueger. No reuse or reproduction of photographic materials on this page without express written permission of the contributing owner

Illegal and Restricted States List

THE EXTINCT CAROLINA PARAKEET

 

COULD THE NATURALIZED, WILD QUAKER FILL THE GAP?



 

The bird at your left is Conuropsis carolinensis, the Carolina Parakeet, member of the conure family and the only parrot indigenous to North America. Rare by the 1800's and extinct in the early 1900's, it once ranged over most of the United States east of the great plains. With the spread of agriculture, this beautiful bird developed a liking for the seeds of many kinds of fruit and grain crops. It was condemned as a pest and subjected to wholesale slaughter.

 

Cockleburs grow best in disturbed soils such as those in and around agricultural fields. That is why Carolina parakeets were often seen in fields and farmers tragically jumped to the conclusion that they were there to rob crops. When one member of the flock was shot by disgruntled farmers, the others would fly around over their fallen companion instead of leaving for safety. In this manner, an entire flock could easily be destroyed.

In addition to being killed because of crop consumption, the Carolina Parakeet was killed for its colorful feathers which were usied in the millinery trade. Some were kept as pets or sold to zoos. Unsuccessful as breeders in captivity, none survive today.

 

Several parallels between the Carolina Parakeet and the Quaker Parakeet. Both were successful in adapting to a variety of climates. The Carolina Parakeet was, and the Quaker is, a colorful, small parrot that lived on an diet of seeds, buds, and fruits. The Quaker is kept as a cage bird, as was the Carolina Parakeet. Both have been hunted by farmers who thought their crops were threatened.

Today. the naturalized wild Quaker faces very similar challenges that the Carolina Parakeet was unable to survive. With a wider understanding of, and compassion for the Quaker Parakeet, might not the species fill the gap left by the extinction of the Carolina Parakeet?

PITC is available for purchase through QPS for $13.95 +$1.50 S/H

 

"Less than a century after the only parrot exclusively native to the United States became extinct, another parrot has become established in North America. The monk or Quaker parrot isn't crowding out songbirds or woodpeckers or scissor-tailed fly catchers, but rather prefers urban habitat modified in ways most native species cannot survive."

 

"Will this new parrot be allowed to stay?"

"Is there room today for parrots in the city?"

 

Parrot behavior consultant, Mattie Sue Athan, has won Amazon's Best-selling Bird Care and OWFI's Best Non-Fiction Book Awards. Here she joins Jon-Mark and JoAnn Davey to document the status of wild monk/Quaker parrots. The coauthors share almost half a century of experience watching wild parrots in North America. QPS sponsored the publication of Parrots in the City. 

 

PITC co-author Jon-Mark Davey, spends considerable time documenting Wild Quakers on film and in photographs. Jon- Mark writes in a post to the members of the Quaker Parakeet Society Discussion List: "I decided to put together a small album of some of the very neatest photos of the "Wild Ones". When you look at these photos see if you can spot some visual characteristics of YOUR Quakers.... I could see so many faces and attitudes that my babies have in the faces of many of these wild ones.... watching them through lenses I could really see so many similarities and so many differences all at the same time." 

 

See Jon-Mark's photos and award winning website at Quakerville

 

Cathy Warren's (2006 QPS interim VP) photo, (above), allows us a glimpse at the instinctual talent and ingenuity of the wild Quaker. Wild Quakers construct intricately woven nests to protect them from preditors and extreme temperatures. Several families will construct and inhabit a single Quaker nest. Each family that resides in the nest will occupy 3 chambers; a nursery, a communal area, and a sleeping area. The large and elaborate nest construction keeps the hardy Quaker colony warm and protected.

 

 

DISPELLING THE MYTHS

Quakers as an agricultural threat-

In the Quaker's South American countries of origin, Quakers are considered to be agricultural pests. As a wild, naturalized species in the US, Quakers seem to prefer urban settings and have not proven to be a threat to agriculture.

Quakers as displacers-

In Connecticut, Quakers have shared nesting area with native species, such as the Great Horn Owl. Wild Quakers flocks have been spotted sharing feeding space, (i.e. at residential bird feeders), with a variety of native species.

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FREEDOM?

Is the Quaker which you have chosen for companionship and shares its home with you the same Quaker who lives in a wild setting? Absolutely not.

Though our domesticated Quakers may retain remnants of instinctual behavior, years of careful breeding, perfected diet, and purposeful socializing to make a Quaker acceptable as a human companion, leaves Quakers born in captivity ill prepared to face the dangers and hardship of living in the wild.

Some people are not prepared before ownership for behaviors which a Quaker, especially as it matures, might exhibit. They may not have realistically weighed the time, money, and effort a companion Quaker requires on the part of the owner and human companion. They might not know, or have access to resources which would equip them to better their relationship with their companion Quaker. Some people may begin to feel guilty that their bird's home is a "cage", and that it is not "free-flying"; believing it exhibits unwanted behaviors because it hears "the call of the wild."

The fact is it is cruel to release a companion Quaker into the wild. At best, the released bird that is unprepared for foraging for its own food faces the possibility of death by starvation, attacks by other animals, such as dogs, cats, predatory wild birds, and even by the wild Quakers they might encounter, who are not readily accepting of those outside their established flocks. The life of a wild Quaker, who is part of an established flock or colony, may appear romantic, but it is simply not. Because the wild Quaker faces very real dangers each and every day, receives no medical attention, and is forced to sustain itself as best it can, its life expectancy is considerably less than that of the companion Quaker.

 

ALTERNATIVES

Wild Quaker colonies in urban settings will chose nesting areas that afford warmth, protection from, and a view of predators, in a close proximity to a reliable and preferred food source. In urban settings, this means a Quaker colony might chose to erect their nest on utility equipment, much like Ospreys have in like settings.

Because the Osprey is a native species in the US, conservationist agencies and individuals have made considerable effort to provide alternative nesting for Osprey, either directly on utility equipment, or in close proximity.

As a "naturalized species", Quakers are not currently entitled to the same protection as a "native species", but, individuals, avian organizations, and some power companies are looking toward the idea of alternative nesting, as well as other possible solutions, which would allow wild Quaker colonies to exist harmoniously with human beings and other native avian species in urban settings.

QPSERC (Education &Research) is eager to hear your ideas and opinions about the nesting preferences of wild Quakers, along with any ideas you might have about alternative nesting, or ways to successfully deter nesting on power equipment which will still allow wild colonies to exist harmoniously in urban settings. Please write to: QPSERC

LEGISLATION CONCERNS

Why Aren't the Laws Simply Changed? As Quaker owners, breeders, potential owners, and enthusiasts, we wish it was as easy as a snap of the fingers to change, or at least modify, the laws regarding Quakers in certain states. The process of proposing and enacting laws, or modifying them, is not a simple or inexpensive process. In a state where Quakers are illegal to own, Quaker enthusiasts would be a minority voice. Convincing the larger voice that its laws regarding Quakers are antiquated and the reasoning behind the origin of the laws is unfounded, is difficult.

 

WHAT CAN I DO? 

 

Know the laws regarding Quaker ownership in your state. Make sure potenial Quaker owners, breeders, pet stores and any individuals who sell Quakers know the laws in their state and are informing their customers of those laws in their entirety. Each time a Quaker is detained or seized within the borders of an illegal or restricted state, authorities might view a Quaker owner as irresponsible, which could lessen the chances of the law being lifted or modified. Know the laws regarding Quakers in all states, so that you can be fully prepared should you need to travel with your bird, or relocate. Knowledge of the laws regarding Quakers allows a Quaker owner to make sensible and responsible decisions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are states where Quakers are illegal to own, and some states where restrictions apply to ownership. 

 

WHY? 

 

In non domestic settings, Quakers are hardy and resourceful birds. In the 1970's, when feral Quaker populations became apparent in the United States, lawmakers became concerned that these populations would pose an agricultural threat, as well as a threat to native avian species.To date, it cannot be substantiated that wild Quaker colonies are a threat to argriculture, nor, has it been proven that they are invasive to native avian species, but rather, have been recorded sharing their nesting areas with native species, such as owls. 

 

Quakers are the only parrot which construct nests. The nests, depending on colony size, can be very large, hosting several families, with 3 chambers per family unit built into each nest. In urban settings, Quakers may choose to construct their nests in places which they know will provide warmth, such as on, or near, eletrical power transformers and lights.

 

What's Being Done? Favoring an urban setting, visiting local bird feeders "en flock", constructing their nests on power lines or lighting fixtures, does not endear wild Quaker populations to all, but, in several states, such as Texas, Florida, and New York, individuals, avian programs and organizations, and some power companies, work cooperatively to safely remove wild Quaker nests from places inconvenient to the human populous. Efforts to invent non harmful deterrents to discourage wild Quaker colonies from constructing nests on power lines and lighting fixtures is being explored. Alternative nesting directly on power fixtures, much like those constructed for Osprey, is also being considered, as is the possible use of avian contraceptives, which may control, rather than eliminate, the wild Quaker population.

 

An interesting, informative, and visually stunning website,BrookynParrots.com explores the lives of wild Quaker colonies in an urban setting. In Edgewater, NJ, a flock of wild Quakers have endeared themselves to a group of local residents. 

 

Gather accurate and current information about Quakers in the wild and their behavior in wild colonies to help dispel inaccurate information. A compilation of facts about wild Quakers are available in a handout sheet upon written request. Please specify if you would like to receive this information in MS Word or PDF format. Write to: QPSERC