Last weekend a bird flew over the garden making a very strange call… I only saw it for a couple of seconds, but my first reaction was that it was a ring necked parakeet! I have never heard of them around here, nor have I ever seen them in this area. I grew up in South East London and spent much of my childhood in Greenwich Park. I was totally astounded when I returned a few years ago to find the whole park full of these brightly coloured members of the parrot family. Their raucous calls and bright colours seemed somewhat out of place in the British countryside, yet these birds have become common in the major parks in the Greater London area and are spreading further afield. Some sources estimate some 50,000 ring-necked parakeets inhabit the parks of Kingston, Brixton, Peckham and Greenwich.
My sighting was confirmed later in the week, when on going to collect my Bushnell Trophy Cams, I once again heard the distinctive call and clearly saw an individual feeding with a number of jackdaws and crows and take off and fly past me! There is only one individual and it may well be an escapee as these are often kept as pets in aviaries.
I contacted the Staffordshire WIldlife Trust and recorded my sighting. Although previous records exist for previous individual some miles from here, no one has reported on in my area before.
Parakeets originate from the Himalayan foothills, so winters here are no problem. They eat berries, nuts and seeds, all of which in plentiful supply here, hence their success, espcially as many have found the joys of urban gardens full of feeders! These birds seem to have really found a foothold in the south of the country… I wonder if they will make it up to the Midlands. They are certainly an attractive bird, but I must admit, they look somewhat out of place in the British countryside…. time will tell….