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Have Monk Parakeets Traded In The Lakefront For River Views?

By Patty Wetli | September 19, 2016 9:44am
 Monk Parakeets
Monk Parakeets
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RAVENSWOOD MANOR — Lakefront properties are some of the most prized in Chicago but at least one group of the city's residents seems to be migrating toward riverfront real estate.

Monk parakeets, long-time denizens of Hyde Park, were spotted over the weekend in River Park and Ravenswood Manor.

North Side neighbors posted photos to Facebook of the bright green birds, such an uncommon sight that folks' first instinct was to wonder if someone's pet had flown the coop. (There were no reports of missing birds or responses from owners claiming their pet.)

Whether the images were of multiple birds or the same peripatetic parakeet is unknown, but one neighbor has suggested the name Thelonius.

At the time of a 2011 survey, nearly 800 monk parakeets were counted in Chicago, with the largest populations in Hyde Park.

As common in their native South America as pigeons are in Chicago — and considered as much of a pest — the parakeets first arrived in the U.S. in the 1960s as pets. The hardy birds survive Chicago's rough winters in part because they build communal nests near heat producing electrical equipment.

It's been more than 40 years since the birds' first sighting in Chicago and how they got here is still a mystery. Among the theories: the parakeets were escapees from a lab experiment or got loose from a delivery truck.

The birds gained widespread fame after building a nest across the street from former Mayor Harold Washington’s apartment at Hampton House, 5300 S. Shore Drive.

Over the last decade, sightings of the parakeets in Hyde Park have become increasingly rare as the birds appear to have started branching out to new areas of the city.

Now we know where some (or at least Thelonius) may have landed.

River Park sighting of monk parakeet. [Facebook]

Ravenswood Manor monk parakeet sighting. [Facebook]

Ravenswood Manor monk parakeet sighting. [Facebook]

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