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Trollopes Bird Notes

March 2021

Click for Trollope's January 2021 notes

Colourful newcomer an unwelcome visitor

I was sitting in my sun lounge with my back to the window when my wife said: “Just look behind you!” I turned round and saw a large, bright green bird on my peanut feeder. To my amazement it was a Ring-necked Parakeet, in some guidebooks called a Rose-ringed Parakeet. This was a garden first, bringing my garden list to 77 species since I moved here in 1987.

Swift
Ring-necked Parakeet

The last addition to the list was a Red Kite two years ago and I am usually thrilled to add another species, but on this occasion I was not. Although this is a beautiful bird it is an escaped species that has taken a liking to our conurbation habitats and the population has grown exponentially to the detriment of our native species, particularly the Nuthatch. Like that bird it is a hole-nesting species and has often been recorded turning out Nuthatches from their nesting holes.

The Ring-necked Parakeet first bred in the UK in Kent in 1971, firstly in the Thanet area and more latterly in the area of north west Kent that fringes the border with Greater London. Although the Kentish population has grown from 50 pairs in 1990 to 1,000 pairs in 2010, the distribution has remained concentrated in the above-mentioned areas.

The north west population has expanded marginally in the intervening period, eastwards to Meopham and southwards to Sevenoaks. The London population has also grown, particularly in south west London and when I have occasion to walk in Green Park, I always hear screaming flocks flying in the plane trees. Not a pleasant sound.

The birds have a wide diet including fruit, buds, nuts and seeds, and with plenty of bird feeders around, there is little need to relocate. I also suspect the urban areas are warmer, reflecting their native ranges in India and equatorial Africa.

Parakeets are generally more mobile in winter, hence a female visiting my garden this January (the female lacks the rose ring around the neck). I think it is very unlikely that it will stop and attempt to breed, and if it did move into the wider countryside there would be a conflict with fruit growers. However, there have been quite a few calls for a cull, for conservation reasons, to protect native species such as the Nuthatch and the declining Starling, another hole nester.

On 1st January this year it was announced that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was considering a massive cull, which caused quite a lot of press comment, most of which seemed to be supporting the idea, although the RSPB is not backing it at present.

It would be very interesting to hear from other villagers if they have seen this exotic species in their gardens.

Charles Trollope cetetal@btinternet.com

Events

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Christian aid week - local donations online

Mon 10th May to Sun 16th May

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Parish Council Meeting

Mon 17th May, 7pm

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Open Garden for St Michael's Hospice

Tue 18th May, 10:30am

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Parochial Church Coucil Annual Meeting

Mon 24th May, 7:30pm

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Mon 21st Jun, 7pm

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Parish Council Meeting

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Parish Council Meeting

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Parish Council Meeting

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