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Annoyances of introduced species

As my kiwi friends know all too well, introduced species can be a huge problem for an established ecology. While my current moan isn't anything on the scale of the thousands of tonnes of vegetation the possums in NZ eat every day, it's an issue that will probably soon affect many Londoners.

I've mentioned south-west London's ever growing parrot (well, to be precise, ring-necked parakeet) population many times before, but this year, after a couple of good breeding seasons they've become a regular feature of our local skies. I'm pretty sure there's at least one pair nesting in the trees across the railway cutting behind the house. They've adapted really well to the climate and to the habitat; too well, perhaps, considering that their numbers are rising at over 30% per year...

And now they've become part of the dawn chorus.

Which would be fine, if (a) the dawn chorus didn't start at 4.30am, and (b) the parrots weren't at least as twice as loud as everything else out there.

I'm still fondest of the theory that the're all descended from Jimi Hendrix's pets, released after his death. Of course it's not true, but it's still a nice story...

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
vgqn
Jun. 14th, 2006 01:52 pm (UTC)
I've seen and HEARD the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, and am very glad I don't live nearby. Noisy suckers.

Given your news, I wonder why the population hasn't spread south from SF. Hmm.
sbisson
Jun. 14th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
It's odd, as the San Jose climate should be more to their liking, considering their australasian origins.

Maybe they just get lost in the fog at Daly City...
dmw
Jun. 14th, 2006 02:46 pm (UTC)
augh! comment eaten. not retyping all that parrot/lorikeet biology/reminiscences about the bay area and the surprising-to-me preponderance of eucalypts/smug pointings out that Telegraph Hill's parrots are from South and Central America/divagations on Maori linguistics.

but I am frightened by the thought of "London's ever-growing parrot".
vgqn
Jun. 14th, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)
Divagations on Maori linguistics? I am bereft. Oh, evil LJ.
childeric
Jun. 14th, 2006 02:18 pm (UTC)
The parakeets used to be an interesting novelty around my parents' place in Ham, but now they're practically a pest. It's unbelievable how many there seem to be around now. And at the same time sparrows have almost disappeared. Yes, post hoc doesn't mean propter hoc, but it's an interesting coincidence.
sbisson
Jun. 14th, 2006 02:22 pm (UTC)
Whatever has made the sparrows dissapear from the UK appears to have spread to the rest of Europe. Some sort of virus, I suspect...
the_gardener
Jun. 14th, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
Lots of people talk about the decline in the UK sparrow population, but I think they should visit Tottenham sometime....

(We have no parrots or parakeets here. Feral pigeons, on the other hand, are another bloody matter altogether.)
grey_lady
Jun. 14th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
I hadn't seen your posting when I made mine this morning....
sbisson
Jun. 14th, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
I think I was replying to you just as you were replying to me!
camies
Jun. 14th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)
There seem to be two predominant bird species in my area: parakeets and pigeons (I'm another SW London person). There are lots of sparrows in the pittosporum tree but scarcely an evening goes by without a trio of parakeets in flight squawking overhead. So in my garden the spadgers seem to be winning for now but as childeric says, it may not be true for the area as a whole.
grey_lady
Jun. 14th, 2006 04:13 pm (UTC)
With a sample based on the population that frequents my back garden, I'd have said greedfi-- sorry, greenfinches are the most common. Certainly they're the most enthusiastic consumers at the feeding stations. The 'clean-up' patrol under the feeder seems to be in roughly equal numbers pigeons and collared doves.
megadog
Jun. 14th, 2006 03:08 pm (UTC)
Would you like to borrow a couple of the sparrowhawks who seem to have taken up residence in the wood alongside my house? They appear to be eating their way through the pigeons at quite a pleasant rate!
marypcb
Jun. 15th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC)
I mean if they wake me... of course it's not helped by sleeping with my knee propped up on a hard foam wedge and a pile of cushions ('get it above your heart at night', said Dr Sadist)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )