Listen On:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify

Join Pushkin+

Gain access to ad-free versions of 20+ podcasts from the Pushkin library along with exclusive bonus episodes and other member benefits.

When invasive parakeets began to spread in New York City in the 1970s, the government decided it needed to kill them all. Today: The offbeat panic about wild parrots, and a history of anxieties about population growth.

Key Sources:

New York State Archives. New York (State). Governor. Public information photographs, 1910-1992. Series 13703-82, Box 4, No. 10380_047

Parrot Culture: Our 2,500-Year-Long Fascination With the World’s Most Talkative Bird by Bruce Thomas Boehrer, Steve Baldwin.

Trash Animals: How We Live With Nature’s Filthy, Feral, Invasive, and Unwanted Species by Charles Mitchell

The Limits To Growth (book), by Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, & William W. Behrens III

The Limits To Growth (film)

Shakespeare’s Starlings: Literary History and the Fictions of Invasiveness” by Lauren Fugate & John MacNeill Miller. Environmental Humanities (2021) 13 (2): 301-322.

Meddling With Nature: The Acclimatization Movement and Central Park Starlings” by Jaap Haarskamp. New York Almanack.

European Starling, New York Invasive Species Information

State Acts to Wipe Out Monk Parakeet: State Moves Against Monk Parakeet

By HAROLD FABER. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]. 07 Apr 1973: 1.

New York Plans Drive to Destroy Monk Parakeets Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]. 08 Apr 1973: 11

The Environmental Movement’s Retreat from Advocating U.S. Population Stabilization (1970–1998)” By Roy Beck (bio) and Leon Kolankiewicz (bio) Journal of Policy History Volume 12, Number 1, 2000 Penn State University Press

The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future by Paul Sabin

Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population by Matthew Connelly

The Monk Parakeet: A Jailbird Who Made Good” by Nicholas Lund, Audubon.

Of Birds, Guano, and Man: William Vogt’s Road To Survival” by Maureen A. McCormick. 2005.

Population Cycles, Disease, and Networks of Ecological Knowledge” by Susan D. Jones. Journal of the History of Biology (2017) 50:357–391

Quiet Village” by Martin Denny

Tiki Takeover: Veteran Escapism and the Rise of 1950s Polynesian Pop
Taboo: Time and Belief in Exotica” by Phil Ford, Representations (2008).

The Hosts

Ben Naddaff-Hafrey

Ben Naddaff-Hafrey is a Senior Producer at Pushkin Industries and host of The Last Archive. Prior to hosting, Ben was the lead producer on The Last Archive. Prior to Pushkin, Ben…

Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper Professor of American History and Affiliate Professor of Law at Harvard University and a staff writer for The New Yorker, where she writes about politics,…