White Rock’s monk parakeet colony: the heat makes them happy

Monk parakeets live in restricted areas, travel in packs, chatter loudly and constantly, and might pick your fruit tree clean and poop on your patio furniture in one fell swoop—but they're soooo pretty!

In the last few weeks I’ve been asked a couple times about the pretty green birds at White Rock Lake. Fortunately, since we wrote about them a couple years ago, I know all the answers.

No, not really.

But I do know a little bit about them: They stand out this time of year because of the extreme heat—they love it. The heat, because it reminds them of their exotic South American roots, no doubt, makes them happy and chatty and vibrant. Strange birds, indeed.

The birds’ love of heat is also the reason that they nest at the warmth-emitting TXU electrical tower on the west side of White Rock Lake, according to neighborhood bird expert George Boyd.

There is only speculation about how White Rock became the birds’ hub, Boyd says.

Some say a crate on a truck transporting them as pets some 30 years ago broke open, turning them loose. Others say neighboring pet owners grew tired of caring for the birds and let them go.
Either way, they gathered near this equipment and multiplied.

Boyd says he recalls when there were just eight or so birds in one nest; today, there are hundreds.

In their native lands, the monk parakeets are considered pests; here, when the city attempted to remove them from the TXU equipment, neighborhood residents said, “no!” More in the archived November 2009 Advocate.

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  • I saw them for the first time last week, as I managed to walk all the way around the lake. I wasn’t sure what species they were I only knew they were Green and there was a lot of them. Beautiful to watch flying.