Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bonus Argentina photo

At home in Chicago, as in many other major US cities, we have an extremely hardy population of Monk parrots that survive the winter by building enormous communal stick nests. We also have other invasive bird species: the ubiquitous House Sparrow, introduced from Europe long ago, and the European Starling. In the depths of winter these species are some of the only ones to stick around (along with some Canadian Geese).

Well, it turns out that this area of Argentina is the natural home of the Monk Parakeet, but this summer's least expected sign of globalization were crowds of House Sparrows in Buenos Aires. You can see a few of the parakeets in the picture at right, taken in the Puerto Madero neighborhood. In case you're wondering, I saw neither of these species in Chile, which the Andes have kept as a relatively isolated natural environment with some beautifully unique birds, especially the charming chingolo (shown in this stolen picture) in the House Sparrow location of the "pecking order." (Sorry about that.)