Texas Hill Country News

Austin Energy and Travis Audubon Society Clash Over Monk Parakeet Nests

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Tony Maples Photography


Spotting a bright green bird in Austin is an exciting change from the norm of seeing sparrows, mourning doves, and grackles. Monk parakeets aren’t a native species, but they’ve found their way to Texas and like to make their large nests on top of the equipment found on utility poles. But unfortunately, they can cause fires and electric failure.

According to KXAN, the Travis Audubon Society received word that Austin Energy was knocking down the nests during the night, killing the baby birds. Since nesting season lasts from April to June, they want Austin Energy to stop destroying the nests until the babies have a chance to fly away. But Austin Energy says they must remove the nests for public safety, and they are not doing so inhumanely. The two organizations were clearly at odds about how to move forward. The Travis Audubon Society even planned to follow Austin Energy trucks at night to make sure they weren’t knocking off nests.

Luckily for the monk parakeets, Austin Energy and the Travis Audubon Society have decided to work together. A new statement was released after the news story broke, which reads, “With Travis Audubon Society providing recommendations for best practices, Austin Energy will review its maintenance practices during nesting season and partner with wildlife rescue organizations as appropriate. Both Austin Energy and Travis Audubon Society recognize that partnership in promoting jointly held values for respect for wildlife and public safety is in the best interests of the local community.” The statement was signed by Executive Director of the Travis Audubon Society Joan Marshall and the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy GM Austin Energy Elaina Ball.