This Monday, May 17th, PSE&G crews destroyed a significant number of nests built by wild Quaker (AKA "monk") parakeets in Edgewater, New Jersey. This action was not unexpected, but it was very painful to watch. What follows is my report.
I took a very early bus out to Edgewater today to serve as a witness and peaceful protester of the PSE&G nest teardowns. Because my camera is in Arizona right now (it's a long story), the only weapon I had at my disposal was my guitar, so I played mournful music during the destruction. Councilwoman Maureen Holtje did bring her camera, and she took the pictures at the URL below.
PSE&G crews worked very quickly. With five trucks at their disposal, five nests near what has become known as "Parrot Park" were destoryed within 20 minutes. Numerous eggs were destroyed but no baby birds were in the nests, which was a kind of blessing, because there is no provision under New Jersey law to offer them sanctuary.
The trucks then proceeded north along River Road, where between eight and ten nests are known to exist. I did not witness these teardowns but believe they all occurred within the next hour or so.
This was a very sad day for the wild parrots of Edgewater, and for those people who believe that they enhance life in that town. As I've written before, PSE&G can't be blamed for removing the nests from their poles, but the fact that these wild parrots enjoy absolutely no protection in New Jersey is, I believe, a major error that should be addressed.
These birds may provide challenges to us humans, but they should not be classed a "potentially dangerous species" with no rights at all. After all, these birds were "born in the USA," have been living with us for at least 30 years, and deserve a modicum of respect, especially because they have all of the great qualities we associate with the American character: they're industrious, loyal to each other, they're amazing little engineers, they coexist well with other native birds, and they just won't give up, even when the deck is stacked against them.
You can view annotated pictures of the nest teardowns here: