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by February 5, 2014
RSCF has been monitoring wild Green-cheeked Amazon parrots on Palm Beach, FL since 1995. This unusual population has only a single breeding site here - a 150-year-old stand of ornamental Casuarina (Australian pine). The birds provide a convenient study system for researching the ecology of non-native parrot species, as they also provide insights about how small parrot populations persist in a continually perturbed, urban environment.
The Green-cheeked Amazon is perhaps the only endangered parrot to be best represented in the wild as a non-native, and has become a species of special concern even among ardent in situ conservationists. In California, A. viridigenalis has been added to a special state bird list, affording it specific legal protection. Presently, no equivalent statutes pertain to this species in Florida. As in California, this parrot seems not to displace or compete with native wildlife. On Palm Beach, the population of 100-150 individuals has been more-or-less static for decades, and breeding is completely dependent on naturally forming cavities within a row of old-growth Casuarina that were planted as ornamental vegetation during the 1860's along the original road to the Breakers Hotel and Casino. No other suitable nesting trees appear to be available to the species in south Florida.
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