Sunday 4 July 2010

Deptford birds: Ring-necked parakeet

It seems the borders of Deptford have finally been breached by the Ring-Necked Parakeet, Britain's only naturalised parrot which has been common in much of south-east London for years.

While I've heard and observed them regularly on walks in other pars of Lewisham and Greenwich boroughs, I've never seen them in Deptford before. The last few weeks I've heard their raucous cries frequently from my balcony and it seems that a group of them has taken up residence nearby; presumably the continued expansion of their SE London population means them having to find new territories.

Opinion is split on ring-necked parakeets - some people love the idea of having tropical birds in their back gardens, others (me included) find their squawking cries rather grating. They perch in the high branches of trees and it's not easy to see them except in flight, so it's difficult to decide whether their plummage is sufficiently exotic to excuse all the screeching! That being said, many of our native birds cannot sing for toffee either, and some have just as annoying cries such as the magpie that I can currently hear squawking in the trees nearby.

However there are also genuine concerns about their potential impact on Britain's native species, particularly woodpeckers, starlings and nuthatches with whom the parakeets compete for nesting holes. No detrimental impact has yet been established, but the RSPB is keeping a watching brief on the situation.


Marmoset said...

I remember seeing a parakeet cannily waiting as a greater spotted woodpecker worked a bug out of the tree bark in Oxleas Wood. Of course, its beak wouldn't have been able to get the insect out itself but it was able to frighten the woodpecker off once the meal was within reach. It struck me as a very ''capitalist'' kind of behaviour.

I haven't noticed more then the occasional parakeet in the Crossfields end of Deptford - and they seem to come down from the heath rather than have set up stall near here. (And they're not difficult birds to miss because they seem unable to take off without squawking a raucous ''look at me!''

(BTW, about the new design: I like the idea of a ''Creative Spa!'' It'll take a while to get used to because you get used to a kind of ''house style'')

Deptford dame said...

@ marmoset: I'm intrigued by your comment about the header pic - does that mean you can't see the whole width, or were you just making a whimsical comment?

Marmoset said...

Hi there, DD, it was just how I had my browser open with another window open alongside - it just left me with the words ''creative spa'' visible and the idea tickled me!

Deptford dame said...

@marmoset - phew! Thought I'd done something silly with the new design. I too rather like the idea of a creative spa. I wonder if Wavelengths would be interested in installing one next to the library...!

Anonymous said...

there has been a single intrepid, batchelor? spinster? parakeet resident in Convoy's Wharf for a few years now. There are also bats that feed nightly about 8.30pm to 9.30pm.

Unknown said...

Those Magpies are relative newcomers too! I'm with you on thinking of the parakeets being gratingly noisy masking the often more delicate native songsters.