NJ Transit Removes Maplewood Parakeet Nest
Nest over train tracks was deemed a "tremendous" fire hazard.
A New Jersey Transit (NJT) spokesperson confirmed that the agency removed a nest of monk parakeets from the overhead wires at the Maplewood train station last week because it posed a serious fire hazard.
"The nest was taken apart," said NJT spokeswoman Nancy Snyder, who said the wires contain 27,000 volts of power and the nest was a "tremendous" fire hazard. The birds, which are also known as Quaker parrots, built the nest sometime in 2011 and had been sighted in Maplewood since at least 2009.
Snyder said NJT had been monitoring the nest and decided to remove it when it became too large. "It could have erupted in flames," she said.
Native to South America, monk parakeets began to appear in the United States in the 1960s. They are around ten inches long with a bright green top and light green bottom, and can live for up to 20 years.
According to The Birds of North America website, the monk parakeet is the only species in the parrot family that constructs a stick structure that can house a single nest or be a larger complex with a dozen or more separate chambers. The parakeets are very adaptable to different landscapes and climates.
"If we could have built (a different) nest for them, we would have," said Snyder, "but they won't go to a manmade nest." She said that while the issue of bird nests on overhead wires does crop up periodically, it was not common.
"The birds can build another nest," Snyder said. "Birds can fly away, but the public can't."