Campaigns | Guest Editors | Mammals | Birds | Underwater | Landscapes | Pets | Other

Colour: A long way from home

by Darren

Finishing our day of colour, here’s something you wouldn’t expect to see in England.  Indeed the first time I saw one of these birds in my garden I did a double-take.  Once I’d realised what it was I was convinced it was an escaped pet.  And then I found out the real story ….

There are many explanations as to how rose-ringed parakeets, otherwise known as ring-necked parakeets, achieved such a large feral population in south west London and the surrounding parts of Surrey.  They include explanations such as some escaped from a Guildford pet shop in the 1970’s, or from Gatwick Zoo, or even that Jimi Hendrix released a pair on stage at a concert.  Whatever the reason, there here in their thousands.

If you visit places like Richmond, Bushy or Hyde Parks during the day and wander into a forested area, you’ll see and hear them in the trees.  There used to be a roost of eight thousand birds at Esher Rugby Club, although they’ve since moved on.

It doesn’t make sense, after all parakeets are tropical birds aren’t they?  Well these ones come from the foothills of the Himalayas where the climate is very similar and they quite like it here.

And again they’re a species that’s disliked by some people.  They’re gregarious and they wake people up on a Sunday morning.  They take quite a lot of food and have a habit of damaging bird feeders with their powerful beaks, especially those with cages to reserve the feeder to small birds.

As ever, my position is that they’re here in large numbers.  Without a doubt they’re here because of our actions.  We can’t turn back the clock so let’s just enjoy seeing them.