ComEd Evicts Deadbeat Parakeets
By Sam Bakken in News on Mar 24, 2005 8:05PM
Eight to 10 members of the infamous Hyde Park monk parakeets gang were kicked out of three nests they'd constructed on power-line poles in the 5000 block of South Dorchester on Tuesday. ComEd said the parakeets' early-morning screeching parties and attempts to pay rent with holly berries and bird seed were just a couple of many reasons for the eviction.
Screechy McTweet, leader of the South Dorchester Parakeet Neighborhood Association and pictured at right, defecated on the ComEd crew's heads, trying to impede the crew's efforts. As police put him in wing-cuffs and dragged him to a squad car, he was heard to yell, "SQUAWK! Eeeeeeeh. Eeeh! SQUAAAWWWWWWK!"
ComEd also said that the evictions were enforced to prevent power outages of which 3,000 were caused by animals last year in Illinois. They removed the three nests on Tuesday to avoid problems with the eggs the parakeets are expected to begin laying in six weeks. The Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club accompanied the crew to the scene in case there were any parakeet hatchlings or eggs. The Sun-Times reports that no humans minded displacement of the parakeet neighborhood because the birds are considered pests in their native region and can nest elsewhere.
The monk parakeets is native to South America, but at least one parakeet was spotted in Hyde Park in 1973. A colony of the parakeets began breeding in Hyde Park by 1980. In 1988 the U.S. Department of Agriculture wanted to eliminate the birds but after protest from members of the community, and a threatened lawsuit, the department canceled their plans. You can read a paper on the history of the parakeets in Hyde Park in PDF format here.
Image from South Florida Birding with Larry Manfredi