Parakeets at the Smallest Smallholding

We heard them a few days before I saw them, because they’re noisy little beggars. We’re quite familiar with the sound as Rich’s parents have had them dropping by for years. Yes, that’s right, the parakeets have moved north and are in and around the Smallest Smallholding.

Well, Bedfordshire isn’t really ‘north’ as such (unless you’re a Londoner, in which case, anything north of the Watford Gap is north, and that’s just ridiculous).I saw its unmistakable silhouette fly by this morning, and was quite taken aback. I haven’t seen any parakeets at our wildbird feeders; they’re still the domain of many a finch (gold, green and chaf-), blue tit, great tit, wren, sparrow (even a couple of tree sparrows, hurrah!), blackbird, collared dove, woodpigeon and even the most gorgeous little firecrest.

Rich’s Mum recently sent me a picture of one the parakeets that visits her garden (in Kent), performing a gravitational-defying acrobatic trick whilst nochalantly feeding alongside our less lurid, but equally stunning native birds. Parakeets are exceedingly agile and quite boisterous, but as far as I can tell, they won’t drive the other birds away.

Parakeets have been spotted in the wild as far back as the late 70s. The population has steadily grown over the intervening decades, with the parrots being able to adapt to our cooler climate with relative ease. It’s through that the parakeets are as a result of captive parrots either being purposely released into the wild, or escaping captivity.

But please, don’t get me started on the bird pet trade. Birds and cages. No, no, no.

The RSPB is currently against a cull of these non-native escapees, as there’s currently no evidence to support claims that Parakeets may be ousting native woodpeckers, nuthatches and starlings from nest holes. However the Government is obliged to monitor their impact (if any).

But for now I’m going to enjoy watching these exotic immigrants for a while, if I ever catch another glimpse. They’re certainly loud and raucous, with coarse barks rather than any kind of song. That’s definitely someting our natives can and do extremely well – sing beautiful songs for all they’re worth. Sit back and take note, parakeet.


  1. Fantastic, lucky you. I love watching the birds feeding but it is so much more exciting when you see something unusual, last year I saw a pair of woodpeckers which made me very excited!

    Still nothing beats birdsong. I just love the call of blackbirds.

  2. Well I live in Southampton. Anything past Winchester is ‘the north’, including London.

  3. I once saw a parakeet flying around in Iraq, apparently they sell them at the Bazaar. This one had apparently escaped from his cage.

  4. Lucy hi

    There used to be an ENORMOUS nesting site of ring-necked parakeets where I live. When 500 parakeets descended to roost in the evening, the raucous squawking and hollering was quite astonishing. It’s wonderful to see such an obvious foreigner thriving here.

  5. Wow, that brings back some memories, I had one of these guys as a pet. I eventually gave her to a family that appreciated birds for what they are, I had a hard time with the noise, and didnt have the set up to let her fly around as she needed to…. well actually, I would put her in an outside cage now and then, and she didnt seem to know how to fly, kinda sad. But hopefully she is happy now with the other birds they had. Its amazing to me that they are wild around where you live. They are beautiful birds…..

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