First of all I hope this is the right section of the forum and apologies if not.
Over the weekend I noticed a distinctive green bird that looks to me most like a parakeet. It is flying around the area near my flat and perching in a tree across the road. At first I thought I was going mad but I have seen it a couple of times now.
I suppose this is likely to be an escaped domestic pet. Is there anything that can be done to 'rescue' it?
Hi Mo and welcome to the forum. You have posted in the right place so well done.
Is the bird you saw like this?
If so, it is a Rose-ringed Parakeet which is pretty widespread in and around London particularly to the west and along the Thames Valley. They are an introduced species which has become a self sustaining feral population. Some people are getting concerned that they are becoming too numerous and there are ongoing studies to try to determine what effect they are having on indigenous wildlife.
If it's not one of these then it is most probably an escape from someones collection.
Hi Mo. Teejay is right, it'll be a Rose-ringed (or Ring-necked if you prefer) Parakeet. Their expanding UK population is the most northerly in the world. Their arrival in the UK has been anecdotally connected with the filming of "African Queen" back in 1950 when a number of them reportedly escaped from the Elstree film studios.
Other than occasional escapees the only other parrot species at large in the UK is the Monk Parakeet (Hertfordshire again strangely). Their habit of nesting in large colonies on electricity substations and transmission poles can play havoc with the power grid so the Government would like to ensure that their small local population doesn't expand.
Both species are on the General Licence authorising their lethal control subject to certain conditions.
Thanks both for your replies. TeeJay - it does look very much like the bird you have posted. I will have to see if I can catch a glimpse of the beak. John B - incredible to learn that not only are there feral populations of parakeets in the UK, but that they might possibly be traced back to 1950! You learn something every day.
The first confirmed breeding record (apart from an isolated incident in Norfolk in the 1850's) was in 1969 in Kent, south-east of London. There are all sorts of theories on why the species came to be in the wild in England, including the filmset mentioned by JohnB, and Jimi Hendrix releasing a few of them. The timing and location of the first breeding does discount all these rather intriguing theories, and the boring truth is likely to be that over time enough of them were released or escaped to allow enough of them to survive and to find each other to set up nesting pairs. And once they got started, the rest is history. I gather that Esher Rugby Club are nowadays scaring the birds, but at its peak, the roost at the club was anything up to 3,000 birds, which must have been quite a sight.
Mo, There must be some sporting connection. They started in the area of Esher Rugby Club as above, when I went to Twickenham last month they were the first bird I saw and I am going to Wimbledon tomorrow and know that they will be the main bird flying around Wimbledon park. It will give me something to look at while I spend 4 hours in the queue.
Nice looking bird but I am not sure we truly know their potential impact on our native species.
Unlike some introduced species the parakeets do seem to have predators - see video here of the Peregrine at Charing Cross Hospital making short work of one caught by the tiercel.
I'm moving to Suffolk soon but live currently in Richmond (Surrey). The parakeets around here are a real nuisance. They drown out the sound of songbirds and eat anything and everything. I've noticed too, several times, that they have a tendency to bully smaller birds away from food. Will we have to wait for some indigenous to be put on the danger list before these things are culled in some way?
I do admire their endurance but we've virtually lost Red Squirrels and Crayfish to 'foreign' invaders, Mink are devastating small mammals in some parts and it's all a little depressing.
Perhaps someone could come up with a parakeet-specific sterilising powder/liquid that we could add to bird food. That would be a humane way of protecting 'lesser' birds.