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At the last official roost count in 2012, researchers counted over 32,000 feral parakeets living in London. I was told "Oh there is quite a flock of them" apparently some years before a pair escaped from a house and they bred and have adapted quite happily. It is a well-known resident of the greater London area, roosting communally in large flocks. A less extraordinary theory is that the 1987 storms damaged so many aviaries that many parakeets escaped. This suggests that there are close social groups that seem to feed together, with maybe one apparent leader that ‘calls’ when it finds a new patch of food. Parrot colonies have only resided in London in significant numbers since the 1990’s, and various theories have been put forward to explain their presence. Did they make their bid for freedom during the Great Storm of 1987? Vibrantly coloured green feathers, fierce looking red hooked beaks and much larger than the average bird gracing the area, the parakeets are hard to miss. Deliberately or accidentally introducing a non-native species such as parakeets into the existing ecosystem of an area generally has a negative effect on the existing native species, and the presence of the London parakeets is no exception. While there are a couple of different species of parrots living wild in pockets of land across the city, the largest colonies of most commonly seen wild London parrots are feral rose-ringed parakeets. It became established in the wild in the 1970s after captive birds escaped or were released. He allegedly released a pair of parakeets into the skies above Carnaby Street, in the 1960's. Wilder theories are that ring-necked parakeets were released during the filming of The African Queen in Shepperton in 1951, or by Jimi Hendrix when he let a pair go free in London in the 1960s. By entering your email address you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receive emails from Time Out about news, events, offers and partner promotions. There are already more than 300, 000… There's a place in Kensington Gardens where the colourful blighters will land on your hand, so long as they think you have food. It has also been suggested that a flock of the birds escaped from London’s Ealing studios during filming, that a container of the birds fell open at Heathrow airport, and that a large aviary collapsed during the storms of 1987, releasing a significant number of the birds into the surrounding area. But as his former London home opens to the public, we explore one of the more unusual - his contribution to the unexplained explosion of ring-necked parakeets in the capital. So why are they able to survive - and thrive - here? Answer 11 of 60: Hi, Quick question: is there particular spot in London where we can see the invasive birds? A medium-sized, green parakeet, the ring-necked parakeet is the UK's only naturalised parrot and the most northerly breeding parrot in the world. UPDATE: Has the great parakeet mystery been solved? There is some debate as to how non-native parrots came to settle and reproduce in significant enough numbers to form entire colonies within the city, and the total number of wild rose-ringed parakeets living in London is now estimated to be well over 6,000 individual birds. Many gardeners and fans of native wildlife are unhappy with the presence of these undoubtedly beautiful and striking birds, due to the effect they have on the natural ecosystem and native bird population of the area. Rose-ringed parakeets are currently subject to agricultural controls in order to cap their numbers and the effect they have upon the environment, and DEFRA (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has already announced plans to instigate similar control and culling measures on the monk parakeet population before they too, breed out of control. The exact origins of monk parakeet colonies in London and the Home Counties are less widely conjectured, although again, just one single breeding pair could have been enough to form the basis of the wild monk parakeet population that is now some 200 birds strong! Sign up here to get Time Out tips in your inbox every week. In London, parakeets are everywhere and their populations are spreading throughout the U.K. and Europe, prompting concerns the invasive species could harm native ecosystems. There are many types of parakeets around the world, but the breed in London are ring-necked parakeets, also known as rose-ringed parakeets. There is some debate as to how non-native parrots came to settle and reproduce in significant enough numbers to form entire colonies within the city, and the total number of wild rose-ringed parakeets living in London is now estimated to be well over 6,000 individual birds. 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