Me and My Shadow

Monk Parakeets are stopping by daily for some nibbles, usually favoring the safflower feeder. It’s a pair (mates?) and so fun to watch.

Parakeet performance art at its finest!

Beautiful green and blue birds, monks aren’t native to Central Texas, but instead, are descendants of released or escaped pets and they’ve thrived in this region for decades, creating colonies, feeding alongside other birds, and cawing loudly as they swoop around town in small groups. As far as I’m aware, they’re not destructive to any native species, but occasionally Austin Energy (Austin’s electric provider) pulls down the parakeets’ huge and impressive nests from the top of utility poles. The nests sometimes catch fire (electric wires!) and are clearly a hazard for both birds up top and beasts below.

I usually hear them more than see them, as their calls are loud and raucous, but they’re welcome to pop by for snacks. They certainly add a splash of color to the garden.

28 thoughts on “Me and My Shadow

  1. What wonderful photos, Tina! I never get to see them so close. They’re around, and I hear them often, but they tend to stick to the tops of palm trees and huge power transmission towers. I wonder if some safflower would tempt them in. It might be worth a try. Is there some other species who likes the safflower, in case none of the monk parakeets show up?

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    • Thanks, Linda. Safflower is a popular menu item in my garden. The House Finches are the main customers, but Titmice, Chickadees, Cardinals all nosh on the safflower. I originally got it because it’s something the Starlings DON’T like, so I was on-board with that. Funnily enough, it took me a while to recognize some “weeds” that were coming up in my garden as…safflowers! My sunflowers come from the bird feeders, so I’m not sure why it took so long for me to figure out the safflower, but there we are.

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      • Where do you buy safflower seed? I have been feeding black oil sunflower seeds because it is the only half decent seed I can buy now that the Wild Bird Store in my area closed last Summer. Unfortunately, the squirrels go after the sunflower seeds, and it is a constant battle to try to keep them out of my feeders. There is one squirrel in particular whose days are numbered. Plan to trap him soon and relocate him to the park a couple of miles away.

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      • I buy all of my seed at Wild Birds Unlimited. You can order online and they’ll ship, free of charge if it’s a big enough order. I did that at the beginning of the pandemic, but now, as I’m vaccinated, I’ll go in or still do curbside pickup.
        Also, farm supply type places carry seeds, though I don’t know the variety. Good luck, it’s frustrating if you can’t get what you want.

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  2. I still await my Hummers! Have had the feeder out and changed the nectar regularly since mid-March, but not one Hummer so far. Some birders in Mid Cities already have Hummers at their feeders, though. I am jealous! I would faint from shock if I saw any of these Monk Parakeets around, though! (LOL)

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    • I always do a double-take if I haven’t seen the parakeets in a while. They’re off and on visitors.

      I hope your hummers return soon, so fun to watch them.

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  3. These photos are super excellent. I really enjoyed seeing the pics of these beautiful birds. How fortunate for you to have them stop in for food. I saw a flock quite a few years ago when they landed in some dead hackberry trees at the back of my property. I had not seen them before and I have not seen them since. I have no idea if they nest in my town of about 130,000 or so since I have never heard anyone comment about seeing them. I am thinking that flock was traveling and looking for greener pastures.

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