Meet the parakeets!

If you've been strolling in Kensington Gardens (Hyde Park) whilst in London, you have no doubt encountered many a parakeet, whether its been flying (and shreiking) overhead, roosting in trees (in numbers - a pandemonium of parakeets, if you will), or even perched in your hand, you just can't miss them.  But why are they here, so far away from their native South Asia?

They have been here for the last 50 years or so, growing in numbers and settling in, very nicely thank you, to our climate.  They have few natural preditors (although owls and sparrow hawkes will go for them) and live for around 35 years.  Whilst many are delighted to see these colourful birds, others fear that they'll push out native birds, or simply refer to them as posh pigeons.

And how did they get here?  No-one really knows; some say that they are descendents of birds which escaped from Shepperton Studios during the filming of The African Queen (starring Humphrey Bogart & Katharine Hepburn) in 1950, others say that they escaped from London Zoo when it was damaged in the blitz during WWII. It's even said (and this one's my favourite) that they (an 'Adam & Eve pair) were released by Jimi Hendrix on Carnaby Street in the 60s.

However they got here, it looks like they're here to stay so you may as well go and meet them!