07 and 09 July 2017 - This is the 2017 nesting report on the Chicago Skyway Monk Parakeet colony in SE Chicago. From the Picosito Mexican Grill I counted 47 stick nests (5 under the bridge and 42 on the southwest side of the bridge) along 10000 S. Ewing Ave. and Avenues "L" "M" and "N." Some nests are small with one perfectly round entrance hole and others are very large with many connecting compartment entrance holes.
There is much more traffic in this area than in previous years, but the intersection has been improved and greened so one can actually sit under a nest in the small East Side Memorial parkway that has four benches near the army tank monument.
The 2016 count was a high of 50+ nests. Possibly the lower number is because workers maintain and paint the bridge and remove nests accessible on the underside of the bridge. Workers were working July 7 under the bridge at 100th and Ewing. However, the established southwest outer stick nests jammed between sections of pipes are active with nestlings.
The nests are destroyed by the city and state and utility companies as non-native birds with the approval of institutions and non-government organizations including bird organizations. However, the Chicago Skyway is leased private property and the Monks are accepted in the community as a novelty. This is a neighborhood near the heavy industrial developed Calumet River and the Monk's competitors are House Sparrows and European Starlings that succeed in the harsh environment. They nested in the "hidden" lakefront Calumet Park on light posts and electric transmission boxes in alleyways. New nests are regularly removed. Large colonies of Monk Parakeets once existed in Hyde Park in Chicago and the Village of Burnham on Greenbay Ave. Monk nests on public property and on utility polls are usually removed in NW Indiana as well.
Carolyn Marsh, Whiting, IN
I wrote the article Monk Parakeet: First State Breeding Records and Expansion into Northwest Indian, Indiana Audubon Quarterly February 2006