Parrot Species in US Cities May Rival That in Native Mexico

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 7:17 PM

S. researchers are launching studies on Mexico'south red-crowned parrot — a species that's been adapting so well to living in cities in CA and TX after escaping from the pet trade that the pop may presently rival that in its native country.

U. S. researchers are launching studies on Mexico'south red-crowned parrot — a species that's been adapting so well to living in cities in CA and TX after escaping from the pet trade that the pop may presently rival that in its native country.

The research comes amid debate over whether some of the birds flew across the border into TX and should be listed below the Endangered Species Act.

Parrots in U. S. urban areas are just starting to draw attention from scientists because of their intelligence, resourcefulness and skill to adapt. There is also a growing realization that the city dwellers may proposal a pop that could assistance rescue certain species from extinction.

Parrots are thriving today in cities from LA to Brownsville, Texas, while in the tropics and subtropics, a third of all parrot species are at risk of going extinct because of habitat loss and the pet trade.

Most are believed to have escaped from importers or smugglers over the past half-century, when tens of thousands of parrots were brought into the United States from Latin America.

Scientists only presently are starting to study them.

After doing most of his research in places love Peru, Donald Brightsmith is concentrating on the squawking birds nesting in Washingtonian palms lining avenues and roosting in the oak trees in front lawns in S Texas.

"Parrots in urban settings are of grand interest to me," the TX A&M Univ biologist said. "I look these as kind of future insurance policies."

Brightsmith has received a two-year grant from the TX Parks and Wildlife Dept to obtain an official count on the state'south red-crowned parrot pop and define whether threats against them are increasing.

The loud, ruckus birds have been shot at by mad homeowners and their youthful poached from nests.

In San Diego, a $5.000 reward is being offered according to on the killings of about a half-dozen parrots found shot this year.

The research could assistance drive ways to support the pop that prefers the cities and suburbs.

"It'south more of an urban planning, landscape, ecology issue and not so much how do we defend an area of pristine nature," he said. Brightsmith would love to team up with scientists in California.

Researchers wish to someday study the gene pool to define whether there are still genetically pure red-crowned parrots that could refill the flocks in their native habitat.

"We could've a free backup stock in the US," Brightsmith said.

In Mexico, biologists are working on getting an updated count. The latest study in one thousand nine hundred ninety-fourth estimated the pop at 3.000 to 6.500 birds, declining from more than one hundred.000 in the one thousand nine hundred fifty because of deforestation and raids on the nesting youthful to feed the pet trade.

"We suspect the pop in South TX could rival the no found in the wild in Mexico," said Karl Berg, a biologist at the Univ of TX Rio Grande Valley who received a grant to study the red-crowned parrot in Brownsville.

Biologists estimate the pop at near to 1.000 birds in TX and more than 2.500 in California, where they're the most common of more than a dozen parrot species.

The TX Parks and Wildlife Dept in two thousand-eleventh listed it as an indigenous species because it's thought the parrots flew N across the border as lowland areas in Mexico were cleared in the one thousand nine hundred eighty for ranching and agriculture, though ornithologists debate that.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service that same year announced that the red-crowned parrot warranted federal protection because of habitat loss and poaching for the pet trade. It remains a candidate, and the agency reviews it annually.

Some in the pet trade fear that a listing below the Endangered Species Act could prevent them from breeding the birds and emotional them across state lines.

Conservationists question whether any of the birds are native to TX and should be listed when there are so many species in necessity of protection in the United States.

"It seems odd to me," said Kimball Garrett, a parrot expert at the Natural History Museum of LA County. "I don't know that there is sufficient proof to indicate the birds flew for hundreds of miles from their native range and went across the border."

Brooke Durham said the birds necessity more protection. Durham runs a parrot rescue middle called SoCal Parrot in the town of Jamul, E of San Diego, and treats up to 100 birds a year.

Recently at her sprawling home-turned-sanctuary, dozens of birds were being nursed for broken bones and pellet gun wounds. Most were red-crowned parrots.

Animal cruelty laws proposal about the only protection for the birds in California, because they're not native to the state or migratory.

"People grumble about the noise, but they're just not educated about the birds," she said. "They don't realize these birds are endangered."

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