I spotted this monk parrot this morning on the south side of the Museum of Science and Industry. There were about eight of them hanging out and eating berries off the tree.
Hyde Park residents have grown accustomed to seeing and hearing these birds. But on first encounter, they can be quite startling. Years ago, I drove by a tree that was full of them when my windows were rolled down. Their telltale squawk stopped me in my tracks. I simply had to pull over and identify where the sound was coming from.
I couldn't believe wild parrots could survive in a city setting as harsh as ours, but there they were. At least a dozen of them were perched in a tree near nests that looked like bird equivalents of giant winter parkas. It's really quite astonishing to see them living here. I had that same feeling this morning.
The parrots, which are also known as monk parakeets and Quaker parakeets, originated in South America and do prefer a temperate climate. However, they've survived quite beautifully on the South Side (and elsewhere in the state) despite some very harsh winters. They were first documented in Hyde Park in 1973. Now, more than 200 parrots are believed to live there.
How to See the Hyde Park Parrots
If you'd like to try to catch a glimpse of the parrots, here's where I recommend you go.
- Harold Washington Playlot Park
- 5200 South Hyde Park Boulevard
- Chicago, IL
- Map It