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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Monk parakeet management at electric utility facilities in south Florida

  • Author(s): Avery, Michael L.
  • Greiner, Ellis C.
  • Lindsay, James R.
  • Newman, James R.
  • Pruett-Jones, Stephen
  • et al.

The monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) is native to South America but has become established in several locations throughout the United States through purposeful and accidental releases. The species is unique among parrots in that it is not a cavity-nester, but instead it builds a bulky nest structure of sticks. Often, in its native range and in the United States, the parakeet selects a electric utility structure as a nest site. Material from the nest then can cause short-circuits that result in damage to the utility structure and a subsequent power outage. In south Florida, monk parakeet damage and associated outages have increased substan­tially in recent years. Although the full costs associated with the damage and the outages are not known, it is evident that current methods to manage the problem are inadequate. In 2001, to address the need for more effective management methods, Florida Power and Light Company initiated a project to identify and investigate new, potentially useful management alternatives. In this paper, we review what is currently known regarding the impacts of monk parakeets to electric utilities and we discuss the status of research to develop new methods to reduce these impacts.

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