Meet county's newest residents - parrots

COUNTRYSIDE on the edge of Felixstowe is sprinkled with wildlife - but usually birds and animals native to Britain.

COUNTRYSIDE on the edge of Felixstowe is sprinkled with wildlife - but usually birds and animals native to Britain.

People spot hares, occasional otters, muntjac deer, foxes, lizards, insects, and a host of seabirds and garden species swooping over the fields and coast.

But now there is a more exotic bird to add to the collection - because parrots have been seen in the trees at Old Felixstowe.

Experts say the number of wild parrots and parakeets living in England is rising at 30 per cent per year with the birds - more used to the warmer climes of places such as southern Asia and South America - having adapted to the UK weather.

It is estimated there could be nearly 30,000 living in the wild in west London, Surrey parts of Kent and areas of East Anglia.

The pair in Felixstowe were spotted by Mike Shout while doing some gardening work in Gulpher Road, not far from the golf club.

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“I heard these strange sounds and all of a sudden from out of these couple of tall trees came a couple of parrots,” said Mr Shout, of Trimley St Mary.

“They were grey-green with long tails and they dive bombed me!

“They were definitely parrots.

“I have heard strange bird noises, sort of squawking, in that area before but not seen them before - you don't expect to see parrots, though I often see other wildlife round that area.”

The birds were flying round for about 90 minutes.

“I know there is a lot in London and have heard they are spreading out - it's quite nice to see something a bit different in our countryside,” he added.

Researchers at Oxford University say the increase in parrots and parakeets in the wild has been helped by mild winters, lack of natural predators, food available from humans and that there are now enough parrots for a wider range of breeding partners.

There are concerns that wild parrots could become a pest to farmers or threaten other wildlife.

Recently, The Evening Star revealed how Hoot the Owl was star of the moment in a part of Christchurch Park in Ipswich.

In an ancient oak tree Hoot has found the perfect roosting spot - its very own sleepy hollow. It is believed Hoot took ownership of the hole earlier in the year.

Have you see parrots in the wild in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: This bird has flown . . .

Theories as to why there are so many parrots living wild in Britain include:

The birds being descended from birds that escaped from the set of The African Queen, which was filmed in studios outside London.

Some reckon they are the descendants of rock star Jimi Hendrix's parrots supposed to have flown after his death in London.

Others say they were released from aviaries damaged during the great storm of 1987.

Experts say the birds are definitely breeding and some could be spreading their wings and flying out to East Anglia and other areas to set up colonies.

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