Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Non-naturalised MONK PARAKEETS

With such a bad weather forecast, I decided to spend today surveying our non-naturalised MONK PARAKEET population. At the core breeding area in Borehamwood, I could only locate 33 individuals - that is 18 down on the peak of last year.

The birds have shifted the colony slightly so that now four huge nests are in one tall conifer (and actually, fortunately, all in the garden which houses the aviary). There were two birds inside the aviary, with a new nest up against the outside of the cage, with the rest commuting the 50 yards between the new colony and the tall trees of the original colony.

I spoke with many of the local residents and apart from the noise, they are more than happy to share their estate with these beautiful and charming birds. Three of them actively feed the birds in their front gardens and would not like to see them killed.

Unlike Ring-necked Parakeets, Monk Parakeets build their own nest chambers and do not directly compete with Stock Doves, woodpeckers or owls for a nesting site. As far as I can see, they do not pose a serious threat to the environment, although it is unclear what damage they may cause to flowering shrubs or trees.

I moved on from the Borehamwood colony to another in West London, where a nest on a tall T-Mobile mast has been rebuilt (T-Mobile had destroyed the nest last winter claiming it was interfering with the phone receptions). At least 6 individuals (three pairs) were utilising the nest and happily guarding the entrances to their chambers.

So, in total, 39 individuals located - compared against 55 last year - a reduction of 29%

I would be most grateful to hear of any other Monk Parakeets in Britain this year, particularly of those on the Isle of Dogs, in Kent and in Surrey. The only other record I have in 2009 is of 3 in gardens in Letchmore Heath in Hertfordshire. Email me on

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