Ipswich park parakeets create a flutter - and spark a warning

A ring-necked parakeet. Two have recently been seen in Christchurch Park, Ipswich. Picture: CHRISTCH

A ring-necked parakeet. Two have recently been seen in Christchurch Park, Ipswich. Picture: CHRISTCHURCH PARK PHOTOS - Credit: Archant

Exotic, colourful and raucous parakeets appear to have set up home in an Ipswich park - but some naturalists have warned they could cause problems for native wildlife.

Two ring-necked parakeets have recently been reported by visitors to the town’s Christchurch Park. The non-native species has become well established in south-east England, especially in the London area, since individuals escaped or were released from captivity in the 1970s. They are still scarce in Suffolk, although they have bred in the county at least once.

The noisy, mainly bright green birds are providing a splash of vivid colour and unfamiliar sounds in the borough council-managed park. However, there are fears over their potential impact on native species - they nest in tree cavities and could present insurmountable competition for more familiar birds.

Suffolk naturalist Steve Plume warned on Facebook: “They are a pest and indigenous species that nest in trees will suffer. The kestrels, owls, etc that live in Christchurch Park will be forced out. If you go to a London park they are almost at epidemic levels. It was only a matter of time before they spread further afield.”

Ring-necked parakeets, like all birds in the wild in the UK, are protected by law and can only be controlled under licence, in special circumstances.

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