Alien invaders: over here and over-breeding

THE alien ring-necked parakeet continues its colonisation of London, becoming almost as familiar a sight in treed parts of Hackney as it in the bushy environs of the Thames at Richmond.

The latest report of the London Natural History Society suggests that in the triangle of land from the River Lea, above, at Hackney, north to Epping Forest and east to Rainham Marshes, the species has reached a density of about 100 birds per square kilometre, most of them descendants of birds escaping from careless owners who kept them as pets.

Probably the most widely distributed parrot in the world, Psittacula krameri in the UK is established mainly in London and Kent, although smaller populations are being seen throughout Britain. The total number in Greater London is believed to exceed 10,000 and throughout the UK 30,000. Many of the observations are, however, made by amateur bird-watchers rather than professional naturalists.

Often seen along the Lea, the parakeet is now being seen closer to the City. Several have been seen in Dalston and at Victoria Park. It is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act but, if it is causing damage to wild birds or crops, it can be killed under general licence.

Evidence is growing that the Psittacula krameri is harming native species by occupying their habitats and out-competing in the struggle for food.

David Altheer 211112

This site welcomes fair comments, including the critical. Letters may be edited for grammatical, legal or taste reasons, for shortening or for substitution of Wikipedia citations by reliable sources. RSS feed link is at top right. Twitter: @lovingdalston Publicists, amateur and professional, should read http://bit.ly/ZnClKc Also relevant may be the note at the end of http://bit.ly/117GXmi Photographs © David Altheer unless otherwise stated and apart from supplied pictures

One thought on “Alien invaders: over here and over-breeding

  1. They arrived in my area of Dalston — near St Mark’s Church — over a week ago. First three and now about 20 — so noisy. I have witnessed a magpie see them off his patch and several crows are making their presence felt.

    Just hoping they don’t decide to roost in the huge plane tree at the bottom of my garden.

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