Sunday, January 24, 2010

Monk Parakeets

I read on another birder's blog that you can usually find Monk Parakeets on Cape Coral by the ball fields - so yesterday, after a wonderful afternoon at the pool, we headed over the $2.00 bridge to find them.

We looked around the ball fields with no success and had decided to go on to dinner when we saw what looked like an odd pair of doves up on the wires. Bill turned around, parked the car and I hopped out with my binoculars and camera. Sure enough, we had found the Monk Parakeets! They are lime green with beautiful bright blue wing feathers.

I usually hate to have man-made structures in my pictures, but I made an exception with these. The pictures are not great, but they certainly confirm our identification. Monk Parakeets have unusual toes. Instead of three toes forward and one back like most birds, they have two forward and two back. This arrangement helps them hold and eat their food.

Monk Parakeets are originally from Argentina and were brought to the United States as pets. Enough were released or escaped that they now successfully breed in small clusters here in South Florida. The only native North American parakeet was the now extinct Carolina Parakeet.

Happy to add a new bird to our list, we headed over to Ariels for dinner with our good friends Wendy and Larry - the perfect ending to another wonderful day in paradise.