Just days after New Jersey Transit (NJT) removed a nest of monk parakeets from the overhead wires at the Maplewood train station, residents report seeing the same or similar birds at the South Orange pool.
"There has always been at least one bold bird at the pool," reports Kathy Keegan. "Now, when I walk past the pool area in the morning, I see more than one." Keegan speculates that the birds migrated from Maplewood, along the train line, to the South Orange pool area.
Other reports have sighted a number of parakeets in the area of the South Orange train tracks and pool. Keegan wonders if the birds have taken up residence in the disused Beifus lot. South Orange Middle School students who walk home past the lot report seeing the bright green birds "sometimes." Student Emily says, "I know what the Maplewood birds look like and these are the same. They fly in and out of the overpass on the [western] side of the tracks."
In Maplewood, "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.
Have you seen any parakeets in South Orange? Tell us in the comments!