Never mind the vaunted corncrake, in parts of England only one bird rules the roost: the ring-necked parakeet. No one knows for sure how these tropical birds ended up living wild on our shores. But however it came about, their exotic squawk has become a familiar sound in the suburbs of south London.
Too familiar, some say. The UK's only naturalised parrot has been officially designated a pest. And The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has reluctantly backed a cull.
Not only have the parakeets managed to cope with our winters, they're thriving. In fact, they're beginning to displace native birdlife such as woodpeckers and starlings.
Maybe the newcomers need to be cut down to size. But it would be a real shame if that thrilling sight of a green flash against a grey sky were to disappear entirely from our lives. Let at least some of Britain's suburban parakeets be spared.Reuse content