By Melissa L. Kauffman
Posted: June 15, 2012, 9:00 a.m. PST
Assembly Bill 3044 would protect naturalized quaker parrots in New Jersey.
Potential good news for naturalized quaker parakeets living in New Jersey: Assembly Bill 3044 now resides in the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee, although a hearing has not been set. This bill declares that “any feral monk parakeet, including any nest or egg thereof, shall be protected by the Department of Environmental Protection, any other state agency, and any local government entity in the same manner and to the same extent as any nongame species of bird indigenous to the state that is protected by the Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act.”
Flocks of naturalized quaker parrots (Myiopsitta monachus), also called monk parakeets, have been living in states like Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Florida for years. Naturalized means that the quaker parrots are not native, but were brought in by other means — mainly imported for the pet trade before the passing of the Wild Bird Act of 1992 — and now reproduce and thrive without human assistance. Feral is an incorrect term as feral refers to a domesticated animal that have gone wild. These quaker parakeets, like most parrots — except for cockatiels and budgies — were never domesticated.
Quaker parrots have long fought the stigma of many non-native species as damaging to the ecosystem they were introduced to. Quaker parrots are city dwellers so there is no accumulated data of which BIRD TALK and other quaker parrot enthusiasts are aware of where they have threatened crops or other wildlife. Passing the New Jersey Assembly Bill 3044 means that the quaker parrots of New Jersey would not be considered or listed by the Department of Environmental Protection or any other state agency as a potentially dangerous species, according to the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC).
If you wish to contact the Assembly Committee members, you can find their contact information on the New Jersey Legislature website.
You can also contact PIJAC’s Government Affairs Department at 202-452-1525 ext. 105 or email.
For more information on the status of naturalized quaker parakeets in the United States, check out “City Birds” by Daniel Sigmon in the August 2012 issue of BIRD TALK magazine.
If you want to own a quaker parrot in the United States, consult this map to learn if quaker parrots are legal in your area.