Saturday 26 August 2023

Ring-necked parakeets in my garden!


I have, at last, solved the mystery of loud, insistent and unfamiliar bird (kee-kee) calls from nesting birds in big trees around my garden; with occasional very rapid flights in which - silhouetted against the evening sky - I could see what looked rather like a hawk, with long curved and pointed wings; and a short curved beak.   

(From where I was, from underneath, as the birds flashed-by at dusk, wings flapping - they did not look anything like the picture above - the colour seemed blackish, and the beak did not look red...)

Then, this morning, in better light (and at a time of high swooping activity) I spotted one that had, to my amazement, what seemed to be a green back! On checking a UK identification website from the RSPB, I saw the only possible bird was: a ring-necked parakeet...

On using this as my search term, plus Newcastle upon Tyne, it instantly emerged that this is a known-thing; that ring-necked parakeets have been nesting and breeding in urban Tyneside for at least five years; and that they are spreading and increasing. It has been in the local newspapers. 

So, that is the answer. It seems bizarre, but now I know the answer to the mystery birds is... obvious. Sort of. 


William Wildblood said...

These are all over the place where I live in Surrey. They were quaint at first but over the years they have spread and probably driven out native birds. Remind you of anything? I would appreciate them in their natural habitat but they just seem wrong in terms of English flora and fauna.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William, clearly I am out of date on this subject.

Apparently the parakeets are herbivores, otherwise I would suspect they might compete with omnivorous corvids such as crows and magpies. They are similar in size, noisiness, and the nesters near us seem to be in trees usually inhabited by such corvids. Parrots and corvids are both tough, and the most intelligent of birds.

The fact that the parakeets are apparently always urban in the UK, suggests that they are only partially suited to this climate - so maybe they will not invade too far, and (because concentrated) they could pretty easily be culled, if that was deemed desirable.

It'll be interesting to see the effect of a hard North East winter - but we haven't had one of them since the double whammy of the 2009-11 seasons.