Friday, July 1, 2011

Firewater Friday - All we need, really, is a change from a near frigid to a tropical attitude of mind.

The Monk Parakeet, also known as the Quaker Parrot, is a tropical bird is typically found in the steamy climates of South America.  Well, guess what?  We have them here in less than tropical New England, and not just a few of them, but whole populations of them.  They’re bright plumage and chatty squawking can be seen and heard in many towns. 

They've been around for the last 40 years.  Theories abound as to how they came to settle in such a northerly region.  Some say they were on the banana boats that used to sail into local harbors, others that there was an accident where a pet store truck that released a number of would-be pet parakeets en masse, still others that that a single escaped pair from a suburban family started the population explosion. 

They tend to nest by power lines because of the extra heat that the lines generate.  But there is a pine tree near our garden plot that is practically a monk parakeet condominium . . . the tree hosts several rather large nests.  Since they don’t seem to bother the garden, it’s pretty darn cool having them around.  It adds to the ambience. 

It’s very interesting that the little birds have managed to survive . . . nay . . . thrive in an area that would seem unsuitable for them.  A New England winter is a far cry from what they’re used to.  Although technically an invasive species, they have not disrupted the local ecology in any perceptible way.

Our area electric companies have different way off addressing the birds who’ve established their homes on power company light poles.  Connecticut Light & Power Company crews will remove twigs and other nesting materials from around the transformers and installing animal guards to keep the nests from going up in flames.  As opposed to United Illuminating, who’s policy it has been to capture the birds and have them euthanized by the USDA or shipped off to laboratories for use in experiments . . . yep, your tax dollars at work.   

A group of concerned citizens filed a complaint against United Illuminating on behalf of Connecticut’s monk parakeets. Until recently they have been under a court to stop killing the birds, but a new court order has lifted the previous ban.  It is unclear at this time if UI will pick up where they left off.

I say let them be.  They’re an odd and unique addition to our communities.  It’s fun spotting them in the most unlikely areas.  Carry on fine feathered friends!

Tropical Mudslide

     2 Ounces Irish Cream
     2 Ounces Coconut Rum
     2 Ounces Kahlua
     2 Ounces Cream
     2 Cups Ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a hurricane glass. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Serve.

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