Searching for Parrots in…Europe?
By: Mike Jerrard
When one thinks of parrots, places such as the Amazon, Africa, and Australia come to mind and with good reason. These places are the true home of so many of the exotic and beautiful birds. It is exotic creatures such as these that have lured naturalists such as David Attenbourough away from the mundane wildlife deficient England to showcase the incredible wildlife of the world to us all.
These days however Europeans don’t need to head to the tropics or down under to appreciate wild parrots because thanks to careless and ignorant owners of captives, numerous species have escaped and found a way to make a new home for themselves throughout Europe.
In England, Ring Necked Parakeets have become so numerous that one can now legally shoot the birds. It is become a so called pest as it endangers native wildlife as well as crops.
Of course what better parrot could you ask to become wild in France than Fischer’s Lovebird. It only makes sense that a country that is home to the city of love become the home for these beautifully feathered aves which originate from Tanzania Africa.
And when it comes to parrots such as the yellow-headed amazon, it turns out they may have a taste for beer as wild colonies can be found in Stuttgart, Germany.
It is Spain however that has become the real Amazon of Europe when it comes to its introduced populations of parrot species. In Barcelona alone there are some seven species which may not make it the capital of Spain but definitely makes it the birding capital of Europe when it comes to parrot spotting.
Although one could imagine it was the fault of early Spanish explorers that brought back individuals from their voyages around the world, it is in fact the modern day travelers and the pet trade which has brought them here. For the ones that manage to escape their horrible ordeal of being kidnapped, brought to a new strange land, and put in a cage, Spain luckily gives them at the very least a hospitable environment where they can thrive. They may cause negative environmental and economical impacts but there is no denying they add some color to the sky.
To combat the introduced species, Barcelona has followed England’s lead in allowing hunting not only by humans but also by Peregrine falcons which have been reintroduced to the city. A pair that calls a tower of the iconic La Sagrada Familia home have reached that of celebrity status. It seems only fair that a falcon plagued by the disastrous effects of DDT poisoning be offered prime real estate that allows plenty of prey and “pray”.