Feral Parrots cause serious problems
An inquiry has been carried out by Imperial College London into the damage done by ring-necked parakeets in London. Birdtrader recently posted about the population of wild parrots in Britain's capital, which has soared from its first nesting in 1969 to an incredible population of around 32,000 - and is growing at a rate of 25% a year. We also mentioned how parakeets can be a pest for the native wildlife - competing for food and driving them out of their habitats. However, Imperial's inquiry has produced evidence that the parakeets are doing damage to the human population as well! The birds gather at night in huge roosts - one of which counts an astonishing 15,000 parrots in Hersham, Surrey. At Painshill Park, a vineyard in Surrey, the brazen parakeets often descend on the vines and strip them bare, ruining the vineyard's output. The parakeets are also causing trouble for churches in South London, where they chew holes through the roofs of old tile-roofed churches in order to make their nests. Moreover, a roost of 4,500 parakeets at Stanwell near Heathrow could provide a potential danger to the world's busiest international airport, if any of the birds should accidentally strike the engine of one of the many planes taking off daily. The birds, which are loud, aggressive and not in the least bit deterred by humans, are considered pests in their home range of tropical Africa and Asia. Last year the feral parakeets were officially added to a government list of birds considered "pests" - such as gulls, crows and magpies - that can be shot without permission if found to be causing damage. Birdtrader users can find out more at Project Parakeet , the website of the Imperial College inquiry. Theories on the origin of the original wild parrot nesting are many: one is that they escaped from the set of The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn and shot at Isleworth in 1951. Another theorises that they were set loose by Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s!