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Keeping Quaker Parrots

Did you know that there's a type of parrot commonly kept as a pet that is actually illegal to own in some states of the US?

Why is this? First, it's important to understand the distinction between animals that are simply non-native and those that are considered invasive.

Animals labeled simply as non-native were not originally from the area and were introduced from human intervention, but are not considered as high concern as invasive species, as they cause relatively little damage.

Invasive species are not only non-native, but these birds are considered high risk for a variety of reasons such as out-competing the native birds for food and nesting sites, killing and chasing native birds away, etc. Invasive species are damaging and disruptive to the native ecosystem.

Out of the species of parrots commonly found in the pet trade in the USA, all are non-native to the United States, but Quaker parrots in particular are considered to be invasive.

Why are quaker parrots considered to be invasive? Not only are they extremely hardy and survive better than most other types of pet birds when they end up outdoors, they are considered an agricultural threat.

In some regions of the United States, quaker parrots have formed large flocks (that likely originated from escaped or released pets). These feral quaker parrot colonies have been attributed to chasing off native birds and stealing their resources (if you have a quaker, you know just how territorial they can be), destroying farmers’ crops, and causing major damage to the native ecosystem.

One major way in which quaker parrots differ from other species of parrots is the way they nest. While most species will pair off and create a small nest in a tree cavity, quaker parrots nest in a flock setting and create giant colony nests which they build themselves. These nests are so massive they can cause the supporting structures to collapse, and have been responsible for countless power outages from damage to power lines.

Because of all of the issues that invasive quaker parrots cause in the United States, laws and regulations have been put in place to help protect our native ecosystems.

In some states, ownership of quaker parrots are outright banned (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wyoming). If you get caught with a quaker parrot in these locations, the bird is to be euthanized.

In other states, you can have quaker parrots, but only if you comply with the state's rules. In many states (including Ohio!), their flight feathers have to be clipped. Other states may require the bird to be banded. In others, you require a permit.

This may seem excessive, but the damage invasive species can cause is not something to overlook.

If you have a quaker (or plan to get one someday), it's important to know the restrictions and regulations in the place you live. If you plan on moving to one of these states where they're illegal, you'll have to figure out what to do with your beloved bird, which can be devastating.

Owning any type of bird is a huge decision, but quakers are one that you have to really consider where the future will bring you, and if that will be possible with a quaker.

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