Friday, November 18, 2005

Parakeet Nests on Power Lines Are Coming Down

United Illuminating, which provides electricity to part of Connecticut, has had enough of monk parakeets building enormous nests on power lines. The company is capturing these exotic birds and sending them off for euthanasia, and is dismantling 103 of their huge nests, mainly in West Haven (where this picture was taken) but also in Bridgeport, Stratford and Milford.

Monk parakeet nest 2, 4.05

The nests can weigh up to 200 pounds and house 200 pairs of birds, according to the New Haven Register (although the 200 pairs figure sounds implausible -- perhaps it's a typo and should really be 20 pairs). The Register wrote that the nests:

...have frequently interrupted UI customer service, caused transformers to blow and generated general discontent with some residents. UI also is concerned because the resulting power outages can imperil customers on life-support systems.

Audubon Connecticut has no problem with it but Patricia Feral, the head of Friends of Animals who has always sounded more like a parody than a rational human being, believes the program is senseless and immoral because the birds have committed no crime. I was glad to read that because I was under the impression that the parakeets had conspired to build their nests in a place where they would cause power disruptions and therefore were guilty of public vandalism and destruction of property.

The UI nest-removal program involves only nests on their property. The story doesn't say how many nests there are elsewhere, but presumably it's enough to keep the population of parakeets -- which actually are a delight to see, if not to live next to -- alive and well in the area.


Anonymous Joey Asher said...

You write that these birds are being subjected to "euthanasia". Let's be clear. They're killing the birds, which is fine by me. But this is not a mercy killing.
You're not turning corporate apologist on us are you?

8:05 AM  
Blogger Tom Andersen said...

I definitely used the word carelessly, and I don't usually like euphemisms (which this was), but I think I'm covered by the second definition here, which I found in an online dictionary:

eu·tha·na·sia (yth-nzh, -zh-)

1. The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment.
2. A quiet, painless death.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous just saying said...

In a March '05 trade publication, one of United Illuminating's reliability engineers stated that approx. 9% of their power outages were due to animals--primarily *squirrels*. Yes, that's squirrels, not Monk parakeets.

That same article in the New Haven Register also stated that UI is concerned that "resulting power outages can imperil customers on life-support systems." Really? Is this really a major worry for UI? Anyhow, I should think that someone so ill as to be on life-support would be in a hospital setting. Don't hospitals have back-up generators to handle potential power failures?

3:36 PM  

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