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Free living parrots in Britain?

When I relocated from Hungary to England, I was surprised how much the English care about their birds. I was amazed how many types of bird food (seeds, suet, worms etc) are available at stores especially in autumn and winter. It seems to be natural for the English to feed their birds and spend money on it. There are several bird watching clubs in the country, but their enthusiasm appears on cups in the form of bird design as well. I must admit, I too love watching birds in our garden (robin, tit, blackbird, jay, magpie, wood pigeon) because it is relaxing and I too feed them. The English are very proud of the robin which was voted the National Bird of the UK in 1960, although this tiny bird lives everywhere between West-Siberia and Europe.

All in all the English do love their birds. But do they love all of them?

This happened when I lived in Cookham at the very beginning and had to take the train every morning to work. On a sleepy morning as I was standing at the platform, waiting for my train, I suddenly saw a strange colour bird flying onto the apple tree opposite to me. As the tree still had some leaves and apples on it, I could not quite figure out what sort of bird it was, but I could have put money on it it was a parrot. The noise it made was strange as well, but as I could not see it, I though it probably was a smallish crow and it was only my imagination.

Not long after that I was talking with my Partner and the topic came up. Not this instance, but we talked about birds in general and then he said, there were parrots living freely in Britain. I said, he was kidding me. He said, no, there was a whole colony which escaped around 1975 in the UK and they spread quickly. Well, I immediately looked up the story. 🙂

Apparently, a complete parakeet colony escaped from the suburbs of London in 1969, others say the sailors returning from the tropics released the birds from their ships. These birds adjusted to the climate very quickly and can be found even in Scotland. You might ask the question how these birds could adjust to the good old English weather. Well, it is down to the English bird feeding habits: as the English spend several pounds on bird seeds every winter, there are plenty of food out there which supplies enough energy for parakeets as well to survive. As parakeets do lot of harm and damage the environment they can be shot without a licence in Britain along with crows, magpies and pigeons.

Therefore, the answer is no, the English do not love every birds and as unbelievably as it may seem, there are parrots living in wild in Britain.


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