Austin Energy, Travis Audubon meet half-way on how to manage Monk Parakeets

Monk Parakeets in Austin at the UT intramural fields (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)
Monk Parakeets in Austin at the UT intramural fields (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After getting flack from the Travis Audubon Society on how parakeet nests are being removed from utility poles, Austin Energy says it is working with the organization to identify best practices on how to handle the nests.

Last week, Travis Audubon questioned why the utility company was using poles to knock down the Monk Parakeet nests and leaving the baby birds to die. Austin Energy explained that the parakeets build large nests, sometimes as large as a car, which can cause a large fire hazard. Austin Energy said the nests, often made of sticks and other combustible material, arc, catch fire and fall to the ground.

In a joint statement released this week, the two entities say they agree that while removal of nests from electrical infrastructure is necessary, “all maintenance practices should have no more impact on wildlife than is essential.” Moving forward, Travis Audubon will provide recommendations to Austin Energy on how to best remove the nests during nesting season and how they can work with wildlife rescue groups to save the baby birds.

Jordan Price with the Travis Audubon Society says the least disruptive time to remove the nests would be when the birds aren’t laying eggs.

“From April to June, only, just let the birds lay eggs, let them raise their young without that fear of getting harassed,” said Price last week.

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