nature’s way

Parakeet
Parakeet

An exotic new bird may be in the early stages of colonising the Glasgow area.

The creature in question is the Ring-necked Parakeet, naturally found in Asia, but now with feral populations in many parts of the world, including some European countries, the USA and China.

These parakeets are pretty much unmistakable with any other British bird. Pale green in colour with a long pointed tail and a thin black and pink collar around their neck, these birds have a powerful and fast flying action and often make sudden direction changes and fast dives.

They are also extremely noisy birds with a loud screeching ‘kee-ah’ call.

The origins of these parrots in the UK is somewhat of a mystery, though it’s been suggested they were first released during the filming of African Queen at Shepperton Studios, in London, or set free by the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix in Carnaby Street in 1968.

However they arrived, in the eyes of the London Wildlife Trust they are now ‘as British as curry’.

During the 70s and 80s they rapidly became established in the London area. Current estimates put the population at 8,600 pairs or 30,000 birds after the breeding season, with an ongoing increase of 30 per cent per annum.

Birds have also spread north to colonise Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

There have been occasional records in the Glasgow area over the last decade or so, mostly single birds during the winter period, but now we’re starting to see pairs and even small groups.

Recent records include a group of five in Bishopbriggs that were seen inspecting possible nest sites.

One or two pairs seem to be present in the West End with recent sightings in Victoria Park and Botanic Gardens, while another has been using bird feeders in Tollcross Park.

Last year a single bird was seen several times around Kilmardinny Loch.

Cold weather does not seem to have much of an effect on these birds, breeding often starts early in the year with eggs being laid any time from January to June, the birds utilising tree holes or crevices in buildings for nesting sites.