Exotic parrot colonies are flourishing across the country

On a cold, windy day in Chicago eight years ago, Jennifer Uehling strolled through Hyde Park, a picturesque neighborhood known for its bookstores, museums, and grand historical homes. The scenery was hardly tropical, but an exotic element cut through the drone of traffic along Stony Island Avenue that day. “There was this loud squawking,” says Uehling, a graduate student in evolutionary ecology at Cornell University. Zooming over her head were nearly a dozen vibrant green Monk Parakeets. Bewildered, Uehling was sure her eyes were playing tricks on her. “A bunch of parrots was the last thing I expected to see roaming around in the middle of Chicago.”

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