Surging populations of exotic birds
Appeared on Space For Nature on 20th September 2004
At least three species of exotic parrots are now breeding at large in the English countryside and fears are growing that they pose a threat to some of our native birds.
Colonies of ring-necked parakeets (Psittacula krameri) have been surviving in the London area for many years and their current population is put at some 20,000 birds. Experts believe that their numbers are increasing at a rate of 30% per year and fear that very soon they could top 100,000 birds: exceeding some of our native species.
There are fears that such high numbers of exotic hole nesting birds could displace natives like the increasing rare lesser-spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor). In addition there are now known to be populations of two other parrots: the monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) in Merseyside and the alexandrine parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) in both Devon and Hertfordshire. The director of Friends of the Earth, Tony Juniper, has called for tough action to prevent the birds from spreading. The government is considering a report which recommends the creation of a new agency with powers to deal with invasive species like these.
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