Want to see parrots in London? Recently the New York Times sounded an alarmist tone about the parrots wiping out British crops and native birds. On the ground the situation is less dire and many Brits like their local, if exotic parrots, just like their American neighbors do.
“The public have mixed views about the parakeets,” says Hannah Peck, who is getting a doctorate at Imperial College London, where Project Parakeet is based. “Many people enjoy seeing them as they are brightly coloured and exotic but others dislike the loud squawking noises they make and dislike that they eat so much food from bird feeders and can damage plants in gardens by eating the fruit, blossom and young buds.”
Parrots from 13 species now live in the UK, but the most widespread is the Ring-Necked Parakeet (Psittacula krameri), says New Life Parrot Rescue. They’ve been seen since 1855 in Norfolk, though they mainly like London and Kent. Peck says they haven’t caused severe problems because they don’t follow the architectural style of the U.S.’s monk parrots, who favor massive colonies atop electric poles. (A population of 100 monk parrots in London is about to be culled to prevent electrical fires that occasionally start under the massive colonies.) Instead these parrots, which are from India and Africa, nest in hand-me-down tree cavities. (That’s where the potential problem to native birds comes in.)
Like the monk parrot here, the Ring-necked parakeets in the UK have stayed mainly in urban and suburban areas, so they’ve mainly stayed out of trouble with agricultural interests. But Project Parakeet is checking out flocks that have recently turned up in the countryside. These parakeets have colonized the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and South Africa.
Project Parakeet has found 10 places where at least 50 birds sleep. Peck was kind enough to recommend the top spots to view them around London.
- Richmond Park, Surrey
- Bushy Park, Surrey
- Hampstead Heath,
- Greenwich Park
- Foots Cray meadows
David Lal gives a handy list of places you might see them:
- Lewisham (Hither Green) cemetery
- Kew Gardens
- Isle of Thanet
- Ramsgate railway station
- Margate cemetery
Peck also points out NBN Gateway that has a map of Great Britain parrot sightings.
The big study on UK parrots was done in 2004 and it suggested surging populations, helped by global warming.
Mainly the UK has the same unverifiable creation myths about the parrot populations that are popular everywhere they appear the in the US: released pets and an opened airport crate. The rose-ringed parrots But, they also have much more fun theory that Jimi Hendrix released the English parrot population, the BBC reports.
|Where to SEE PARROTS|
|SEE ANIMALS IN EUROPE|
Know of a feral