Seeing green


by Richard Jones

It's two years now since the ring-necked parakeets started screeching over the garden.


It's two years now since the ring-necked parakeets started screeching over the garden. The tallest trees around here are the Lombardy poplars a few doors down. I don't think they are nesting in them though, they don't look old enough to have the right sized holes in which the birds nest, but they're probably using them as vantage points. I first saw them in Beckenham, about 10 years ago, when a large gang of upwards of 20 were making a rowdy display near a children's playground.

ParakeetsThey're not always around, so when I heard the familiar squawking yesterday I tried to see what was going on. There seemed to be some altercation with a pair of magpies. It struck me as remarkable that these Australian newcomers to Britain must have some way of knowing that the elegant black and white birds they were mobbing were worth the effort of attack.

Evolution works slowly, so surely there could not have been any innate image of a potential egg predator in their minds. I wonder what behaviour of the magpies had stimulated the attack. We also have lots of crows, cawing from the chimneypots, but I've never seen parakeets bothered by them.



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Gardeners' World Web User 20/03/2008 at 14:08

How did they get to these shores? I've heard 2 theories. One that they were allowed 'free range' at Birdworld in Farnham and they took that to mean free range away from the park. The other is that they were being used on a film set and decided that filming wasn't for them...

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:29

We too have them along the roadside trees in Gladstone Park. They will happily raid the garden if there is food out and have formed a sybiotic relationship with the rooks who sit waiting underneath the feeders who, being more agile, can find a way to extract the food from the containers. They seem unconcerned by any other birds. I thought thought that they came from Eastern Europe, Turkey originally and East of there and were also introduced to Australia the same way.