Ring-necked parakeets spotted in Rotherham

PREPARE for an invasion - but it is one of the feathered variety.

Attractively green - and very noisy - ring-necked parakeets have moved north from their London base where a large community has grown from a few escapees in the 1950s.

Now the birds, which naturally occur in the south of the Sahara Desert, have new territory in their sights.

A flock of the parakeets – which look like a small version of a pet parrot – has been seen in Sheffield and some birds have popped into Rotherham too.

Bird ringer and wildlife enthusiast Harriet Day – who recently worked on the BBC’s Springwatch TV programme – said: “These birds prefer urban habitats in the UK, in areas with human habitation. So far they have shown no signs of colonising the wider countryside.

“Though sedentary during the breeding season, there is a tendency for birds to disperse more widely during the winter.

“In recent years Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham have all been colonised.”

Advertiser editor Andrew Mosley got a surprise when a pair turned up in his Rotherham garden.

He said: “One morning at around 7am a couple of weeks ago I looked out of my bedroom window and spotted a squirrel running across the road. There was a blackbird on the lawn and it was staring at something on the wall, which when I looked across I was surprised to find was what I presumed to be a parrot. We don’t get many of those in the garden so I presumed it must have escaped, though it looked pretty comfortable flying onto a telegraph wire and a roof across the road.

“Our resident bird expert Antony Clay informed me it was more likely a ring-necked parakeet, which surprised me as I had never seen one outside captivity before.”

Ring-necked parakeets have gained something of a negative reputation in the capital for their noise-making, big flocks and assertive behaviour at bird feeding stations.

Have you seen any parakeets? Let us know via [email protected]. If you can safely take a picture then feel free to email that to us too.