Briefs from the state Capitol

March 17, 2006

HARTFORD, Conn. --Monk parakeets condemned for building huge nests on utility poles along the shoreline could get a legislative reprieve.

Several legislators on the Environment Committee said Friday that they are considering adding language protecting the parakeets to an existing bill.

Last year, United Illuminating removed 103 nests in the Bridgeport and New Haven areas, saying they created a fire hazard. UI turned over 179 parakeets to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which euthanized the birds using carbon dioxide.

The utility contends it must kill the birds because they would keep coming back and rebuilding their nests in the same places.

But animal rights activists say killing them is unnecessary.

"It has not been proven that monk parakeets cause a significant health or safety hazard, and there are feasible and prudent alternatives to the capture and destruction of them," Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, said at a public hearing.

"The best thing Connecticut officials could so is to press UI to deter them from poles, and then let the parakeets go about the business of living," she said.