Another kind of bird bringing the noise

Postcard From Spring Training

February 28, 2007|By PETER SCHMUCK

There was a pretty good crowd for yesterday's intrasquad game at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, though it's hard to hear anything over the nonstop squawking of the scores of green parakeets that have nested in the overhangs and light standards of the old ballpark. It sounds more like an Alfred Hitchcock movie than a baseball game.

No species of parakeet is indigenous to Florida, but parakeet populations are booming here and in the southwestern states. The most common here is the monk parakeet, which builds the kind of large twig nests that are evident in the upper reaches of the Orioles' spring training home. Oddly enough, many of the species are endangered in their native Central American habitats, but are doing just fine up here.

Sorry if I'm starting to sound like Cliff Clavin from Cheers. I'm not an ornithologist. I just play one on TV.

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