Something must be done!
Have you ever seen a Ring Necked Parakeet? Here's one, in case you haven't. Full Latin name Psittacula Krameri. Apparently.
Chances are, if you live in the south east of England, you've seen one. Or two. Or bloody hundreds of them, everywhere.
In Streatham, there were a few nesting on the Norbury side of the common, at what is known as the "white house". They turned up about five years ago and we thought they were very interesting new neighbours, adding colour to the local community with their interesting squawking.
Then there were more of them. Then last year you started hearing them all around the common, and in the last few months, the screeching sound of their delightful tune can be heard occasionally in the wildlife haven that is the long stretch of gardens between our road, and the one that backs on to it.
On the ride in to town, I can hear them between Streatham and Brixton, on Kingsland Avenue, and this year - Hyde Park. they're breeding like rabbits! they are unstoppable, I'm telling you. They're taking over the country with their weird foreign ways.
Apparently there are thousands in Richmond, and then, blinking heck, we went for a country walk a while back and found them along the banks of the Thames at Wraysbury. The RSPB's estimation of a few thousand may be, as the saying goes, 'woefully inadequate'.
They're everywhere! Taking our jobs, getting priority when it comes to nests. We should hound them out, send them back to where they came from!
So my question was, to the venerable organisation, the RSPB, is this green menace displacing our beloved wild birdies, who ordinarily, are totally ignored by the great British public, but I'm sure they'll all jump on to some sort of Daily Mail sponsored cull of these bloody foreigners if need be?
Here's the answer. It came ages ago, but I forgot to post it up:
"After habitat loss, non-natives represent the single
biggest threat to biodiversity and species survival. Defra (Department
for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) are currently undertaking a
review of non-natives, and their effects on native wildlife. There are
some concerns that Ring-necked Parakeets may be outcompeting native
hole-nesters (Starling, House Sparrow) for nest sites, but this
anecdotal evidence needs to be backed up by hard science before any
control programme could be undertaken. Needless to say, we await Defra's
findings with interest!"
Aha! So even the RSPB is examining culling! Well, to be fair, I asked them whether anyone had discussed culling yet (mindful of the genocide of the grey squirrel population that is currently being undertaken). Seems monstrously unfair to the Sparrow, which is already way down in urban areas, to be forced out by some carnival costume toting, screeching foreigner.
So there you are. There's nothing new on the Defra site. There is an interesting review on the 'Rose Necked' (same thing) Parakeet here (it's PDF) if you wish to know more about our shrieking neighbours. It dates from 2007, and suggests the population was 20k then, and even further, suggesting a 30% cull on an annual basis to keep the numbers down! 2 years later, there is silence. Not a pop of a gun in earshot. Parakeet pie has not appeared in Sainsburys.
The strangest thing was when I was pointing some out to Nora, I realised that they were in no way more interesting to her than say, a crow was. To nora, there have always been green Parakeets. And that's plain strange.