National Trust Purbeck Wildlife

Peeking at Parakeets

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I try hard to ignore them but much as I want to, I just can’t help raising my binos to these ridiculously green, annoyingly raucous and blatantly attention-seeking invaders. Studland Village has a well-established population of ring-necked (or rose-ringed if you prefer) parakeets – look for them in the trees around Fort Henry, the WWII bunker on the cliff top between Middle Beach and South Beach. Native to Africa and southern Asia, there are now thousands breeding in southern England descended from escaped pets.

Should we accept them as a benign addition to our bird fauna or despise them as a harmful pest? Your view might be influenced towards the latter by a recent study, focussed on London, demonstrating a significant impact on the foraging behaviour of native birds. The study, published in Behavioural Ecology, suggested that the parakeets introduce a spatial shift in the foraging behaviour of great and blue tits which could feasibly cause reductions in population.

So next time, maybe I’ll keep my binos to my chest and carry on walking

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Author: Kevin Rideout

National Trust Visitor Experience Officer based at Studland

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