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Friday, September 22, 2023

Life + Arts

Courtyard showpiece to feed local birds

The University hopes to attract hungry Quaker Parakeets to campus with a parrot feeder and observation station erected on campus Jan. 14.

‘Green wild parakeets often have problems feeding themselves in the winter,’ said Alex Alexander, director of the Custodial Services and Grounds Maintenances departments at the University. ‘The bird feeder will help ensure that they make it through the winter.’

David Sarkozi, bird expert and manager of Public Safety Systems at UH, said the Third Ward has a community of feral Monk Parakeets, also known as Quaker Parakeets.

‘The birds hang around the cell phone tower near McDonald’s all the time,’ he said.

The Monk Parakeets hail from Argentina and fill a niche in Houston’s ecosystem left empty by the extinct Carolina parakeets.

The birds’ feeding station features three blue, house-shaped feeders with perches and bricks of birdseed attached to the sides. Fresh fruit will also nourish the birds. Three cone-shaped squirrel baffles prevent feral rodents from thieving birdseed.

Kansas City artist Brian Collier set up the 9-foot tall station in the Music Courtyard as part of the build-up to his symposium on sustainability.

The event, Systems of Sustainability: Arts, Innovation, Action (S.O.S), will feature a public tour of nesting sites around campus led by Collier on March 27-29 at the Blaffer gallery.

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