2007 December 07th The Oregonian Wild parrots in Yacolt get more time as solution sought

Posted by The Oregonian December 07, 2007 15:55PM

Categories: Breaking NewsClark County

VANCOUVER — The wild Quaker parrots of Yacolt got a reprieve this week when the town council gave bird enthusiasts four months to develop a plan for their feathered friends’ future.

The feral green and gray parrots, also called Monk parakeets, fled to the trees in late November when crews hired by Clark Public Utilities removed the five nests they had built atop transformers high on utility poles. The utility said nests were a safety and service hazard, and three birds were captured and euthanized.

The remaining 16 birds, however, flew out of reach. Opinions vary about what to do next.

But early this week, the town council gave preliminary approval to erect alternative nesting sites to lure the birds away from the transformer and out of the cold weather. Final approval could come in early January.

The nesting platforms could be on poles taller than utility poles — to provide the unobstructed sight line that the birds seek out — with attached mesh through which the birds could weave sticks into nests, said Stephanie Tillitt, who runs Stephanie’s Feathered Family Exotic Bird Rescue in Brush Prairie.

Tillitt said area residents have donated money for two poles, and people wanting to keep the birds wild are raising money and materials for more. Recorded sounds of happy Quaker parrots also are needed to help create an enticing nesting area, she said.

Joy Tindall, who organized the Yacolt Parrot Preservation Association, said the design and height of the nesting sites is being discussed.

Meanwhile, Tindall said, nesting boxes are being put in tall cedar trees near the former nesting sites.

Christopher Driggins, who runs Northwest Bird Rescue and Adoption Orphanage in Vancouver, said he is removing doors from traps he and a Keizer bird rescuer erected in Yacolt a week ago. Driggins and Steve Burleigh of S&D Exotic Bird Rescue put up the traps with an eye to rehabilitating the birds and placing them for adoption. So far, he said, no birds have been trapped.

The utility, which helped set up some traps, also has stepped back from the effort at the request of the town council.

In a statement on its Web site, the Audubon Society of Portland said the group does not support killing the birds, which had been considered. But, it said, the parrots are an invasive species and should be humanely captured and placed in secure homes or permanent shelters. The group volunteered to temporarily care for any captured birds. 