Grist to the Mill

19 May, 2005


Strolling around Barcelona, noticed a lot of mad and very noisy green parrots. I figured that they couldn't possibly be native to the climate/part of the regular flora/fauna. Here's the answer:

A plague of Quaker parrots is causing alarm in the Spanish city of Barcelona.
Also known as the South American Monk parakeet and originally from Latin America, the bird has a prodigious appetite and its population in the city is driving the citizens to distraction.

The Quaker parrot is an aggressive bird and eats just about everything green it can find - flowers, grass, even tree branches. With a high rate of reproduction and no predators in the area, the Quaker is threatening the survival of local bird species. Citizens of Barcelona are growing increasingly worried as more and more of these grey-green parrots occupy their city.

The first birds arrived as pets in the 1970s. Owners, tired of their chirping, released them. Now a population of 50 has grown to well over 2,000. There are even more in the Catalonian countryside. Farmers say last year Quaker parrots munched through over 50,000 tomatoes. Experts from Barcelona's Museum of Natural Sciences are now trying to control the bird.

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