Wild monk parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots) have lived in Edgewater, New Jersey, for many years. PSE&G, the local utility company, has over the years removed nests when they’ve interefered with line maintenance, but has worked with the local community to minimize harm to the birds.
In the past, PSE&G has done the intelligent thing: they’ve timed removals for either March or September. In these months, birds are not breeding, there are no eggs or young birds in the nests, and harm and suffering is minimized. Doing this also aligns with the will of the local population; years ago, Edgewater passed a resolution protecting the parrot colony in this way.
Knowing this background, I was shocked to read a press release from a trusted friend of mine, Alison Evans Fragale. As you can see, PSE&G has decided — to my knowledge without community input — to do removals THIS WEEK. Forget the irony of doing this two days before Earth Day: it directly violates the pre-existing understanding.
I am hopeful — but not particularly optimistic at this late date — that PSE&G can be convinced to delay these removals to a time less harmful to the wild parrots — and more respectful of the community’s wishes.
Here is a link to PSE&G’s main contact form. Please use it if you’d like to object to PSE&G’s planned action, which is neither wise nor necessary:
Here is the press release that Alison sent me:
EDGEWATER, NJ: PSE&G has announced their intention to remove wild Monk Parakeet (AKA Quaker Parrots) nests this Wednesday, April 20th, during the beginning of the breeding season.
A resolution passed in the Borough of Edgewater that protects the colony of wild protects strictly forbids nest removals during the breeding season.
PSE&G removed several nests over two weeks ago, but they chose to cease their efforts after four squirrels fell from a nest of River Rd. when a nest was disassembled from the bottom, which caused the baby squirrels to fall to the ground, and two died from their injuries.
A local grass-roots group created to defend the wild parrots, The Edgewater Parrot Society (EPS), witnessed the squirrels injuries and sent photographs to PSE&G by e-mail, and the work was halted that afternoon. PSE&G claimed that none of the existing nests posed any danger to the integrity of their lines.
Founder of the EPFS, Alison Evans-Fragale, has advised PSE&G regarding their nest removals and has offered their suggestions for the timing of and protocol for humane nest removals. Ms. Evans-Fragale said, “Nests are removed twice a year–before and after the breeding season–when eggs or babies are not likely to be found in the nest. The timing of Wednesday’s nest removals concerns us because it is the beginning of the breeding season, when eggs and young babies are likely to be in the nest. Nest removals should NOT be done during the breeding season, except for emergencies, and we question the “urgency” of these removals.
Ms. Evans-Fragale contacted New Jersey Fish and Wildlife, the agency responsible for issuing the Depredation Permits which allows PSE&G to remove the wild parrot nests, to inquire if the agency investigates the validity of the “emergency status” of the work PSE&G claims need to be done. NJ F&W representatives told her that no one at the agency has electrical training, and as such, they have to “take PSE&G at their word” when they apply for a depredation license during the breeding season.
PSE&G has defended their actions, citing the need the remove the nests now, when upgrades to their infrastructure are being made. PSE&G has plans to re-energize six poles in the Borough in the near future.