Thursday, August 16, 2012

Who's been nabbing your nuts?

Crossfields resident Mariza has sent us this photo of one of the more recent arrivals on the estate.

These Parakeets are a recent addition to the local wildlife.  Even last year they were mostly seen (and heard!) flying past off the heath and Greenwich park.  But this year they seem to have become regular visitors, using the ash tree outside my window to swoop down on Mariza's birdfeeder and, no doubt, many others.

I have mixed feelings about these birds.  They are actually very striking, exotic looking creatures but they spoil things by making the ugliest of raucous squawks: they seem incapable of taking off without screeching ''Look at me, I can fly!''  And, as the picture shows, they're not shy of taking other birds' food (Mariza mentions that the feeder is there for our indigenous species).  So if they're nicking the food put out for those beautiful goldfinches, who can back up their good looks with a pleasing song or two, I suppose Parakeets are more a nuisance than a blessing.

A few years ago in Oxleas wood I saw a green woodpecker digging an insect of some sort from a tree branch.  A watchful parakeet was keeping a very close eye on proceedings from just below and, once the woodpecker's beak had done the task it was adapted for, the parakeet swooped in, scared the woodpecker away and grabbed the food for itself.  So how do you judge this behaviour?  Intelligent, adaptable, enterprising or the worst kind of exploitative capitalist?

ps: for family reasons I found myself on a cruise ship on the river Rhine earlier this summer and I was astonished to hear the same shrieking din from the shore.   I couldn't see them so I can't confirm that they've invaded Germany as well, but it certainly sounded exactly like them.


  1. Please leave more tasty treats out for me or else... signed MR AND MRS PARAKEET

  2. Personally, I very much miss Mr & Mrs Goldfinch. So small and unassuming, so sweet a song.