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Loud Visitors

1st of December 2011

I was just going to feed the chickens a couple of weeks ago when I heard a strange raucous call coming from one of our conifers. It was not a familiar sound and as I looked a bright green, ring-necked parakeet appeared at the very top of the tree. It was not a bit shy, eating seeds and balancing with its long tail on the thinnest of branches. The sun was gleaming on its bright red beak and I could clearly see the pink and black ring on its neck. It stayed in the tree for about five minutes or so before flying down the lane, squawking its head off.

I always like to see new birds in the garden but I am not sure about this foreign invader. I had a quick look on the internet and confirmed, as I thought, that they eat fruit, seeds and buds. Alright when there are one or two, but not great for a fruit grower like me when there are large flocks, and I understand that a flock of about forty or so has been seen at the back of the Common. A flock of that size would not be welcome when my lovely peach tree is laden with fruit! I am concerned about their impact on our native birds, as the parakeets nest very early in the spring and take the holes that would be used by nuthatches and woodpeckers that start later. The parakeets have rapidly increased in recent years and there are now an estimated 30,000 in the London area while many of our native birds are in decline. To me, their bright gaudy colours seem out of place in the British countryside, much more suited to the Himalayas from where they originally came. Not much I can do about them though, except cross my fingers and hope they fly off and eat someone else’s fruit!

I have had some calendars made up from photos that I have taken in my garden and on my walks with Ted to raise funds for Dementia UK. If any one is interested, please give me a ring on 01923 262545.
Wendy Bathurst

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