Green Parakeets in SE1

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Sunday 27 July 2014 7.03pm
Hello,

Has anyone else seen green Parakeets in the gardens between S'wark Park Road, Alma Grove and Reverdy Road? Does anyone know where they have come from?

Thanks,

AMJK
Sunday 27 July 2014 8.30pm
They are all over London and the south east. In the likes of Kingston and Richmond they are as common as Crows, but much noisier if you are unfortunate enough to live near a roost.

The myth is that they escaped or were set free from Shepperton studios when they finished making The African Queen in the 1950s. The fact that the largest numbers are to be found in this corner of London may lend this some creedence. They have been busy spreading from this area ever since, but they tend not to like crossing the river. This said, I have seen them where I used to work in Queens Park.

It should be noted that there are also populations in other European cities too, which would tend to suggest Ring-necked parakeets are just an invasive species mostly from Northern India where escaped pets have gone feral. Think of them as the avian equivalent of Japanese Knot Weed.
Sunday 27 July 2014 10.56pm
The myth

The colonies of wild parrots widespread today in London and south-east England are descended from birds which Jimi Hendrix released in the 1960s to add some psyche­delic colour to the city. Either that, or the original breeding pair were Jimi’s pets, accid­entally released after the guitarist’s death. Or, if not, then they were escapees from Shepper­ton film studios during the filming of The African Queen (1950); or possibly, in the 1970s, during the making of another (unnamed) picture at Shepperton. One way or another, anyway, the first London parrots had showbiz origins.



The “truth”

Feral parrots have been recorded in London since 1855. A study by Oxford University biologists of the rose-ringed, or ring-necked, parakeet (Psitacula krameri), suggests that London’s parrot population may reach 100,000 by 2010, having grown from fewer than 500 in 1983. They are long-lived birds with no natural predators in Britain, and it’s feared they will become serious pests to agriculture and biodiversity. They are now found as far west as Wales and as far north as Glasgow. There are already more parakeets in London than there are nightingales. Their recent population explosion is perhaps explained by a warmer climate, and by the spread of garden bird-feeders. The likeliest explanation for their origins, say experts, is disappointingly mundane: they probably escaped, and were released, from aviaries, pet shops and private homes. Quick – close that window!


I prefer the myth.
Monday 28 July 2014 9.42am
They are a nuisance. They 'mob' trees in fruit and leave nothing for the smaller birds. Also a nuisance are the large number of rooks that have moved into SE1 over the last few years; they are real terrors. I've witnessed them attacking, and bringing down, a variety of birds and tearing them apart. When they go away - to wherever they go - the areas is full of a wide variety of birds, when they come back, the little birds seem to go into hiding. But welcomed are the pair of wood pigeons that visit the garden, when they are around all the common pigeons keep away; some sort of pecking order I assume.
Monday 28 July 2014 2.56pm
The jury's out on whether parakeets have an adverse impact on 'native' wildlife. Concerns have been expressed about the potential for them to out-compete other tree hole nesting species such as woodpecker, little owl, nuthatch and bats. Anecdotal reports suggest that the parakeet will drive out other hole-nesting species, but these individual sightings do not constitute an ecological impact at a population scale. A Belgian study has indicated that under environmental stress (e.g. cold winter) parakeets may have an adverse impact on nutchatches’ ability to secure nesting holes. However, there is as yet no firm evidence to suggest that native species are adversely affected by ring-necked parakeet.

As for rooks in SE1 that would be a surprise; they're very uncommon in London (and have been so since the early 20th century), largely confined to the capital's rural fringes. Unlike carrion crow which is well adapted to the inner city because of all the food we leave about, and the maturation of trees planted in streets and parks giving them safe nesting places. What we sow, we reap.
Monday 28 July 2014 5.30pm
walworthwild wrote:
...
As for rooks in SE1 that would be a surprise; they're very uncommon in London (and have been so since the early 20th century), largely confined to the capital's rural fringes. Unlike carrion crow which is well adapted to the inner city because of all the food we leave about, and the maturation of trees planted in streets and parks giving them safe nesting places. What we sow, we reap.

I rather like the crows - intelligent birds - but I don't trust them (it's the way they look at you). What I remember are the huge flocks of starlings over Trafalgar Square and roosting on the National Gallery (though they really WERE a nuisance), and flying round the old GPO building in the City of London in the evenings - a glorious sight. And once upon a time there were sparrows of course.
Monday 28 July 2014 5.40pm
Loads of sparrows over Geraldine Mary Harmsworth ( oh can I just say Bedlam) park today.
Monday 28 July 2014 8.39pm
Walworthwild: The black birds in our garden hang around on the grass in a groups of about eight, this suggests that they are rooks since crows are generally solitary creatures. John C: I remember the murmuration of starlings over Leicester Square. Quite a magnificent sight, but their roosting was quite damaging to the area.
Tuesday 29 July 2014 9.10am
Somerset House used to have magnificent murmarations along withe others recalled here makes me think they were tourists
Tuesday 29 July 2014 11.10am
Thebunhouse wrote:
Somerset House used to have magnificent murmarations along withe others recalled here makes me think they were tourists

see http://www.rspb.org.uk/news/details.aspx?id=264649

Actually just commuters, then.
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