Here is a picture of a native UK BlackBird, especially for those that do not like Parakeets. Clapham Common February 2017
The Rose Ringed Parakeet is remarkably hard to photograph.
I realise that this site is packed with images of my feral green neighbours, but the birds tend to keep themselves to themselves, hanging out high up in the trees, their faces are a little expressionless. Their bright beaks are tightly hooked, so on the rare occasions that they descend to a height where I can achieve a close enough shot, I fail to get a smile from them. Also, their eyes are a little unfriendly.
If I point the camera at a squirrel, I get a long stare back at me through black-jeweled eyes, the look hides a weighted combination of fear and mischief.
A simple Coot will sit quite serene on a tranquil pond and the scene is one of peace and calm. People love these creatures. From a simple straw poll of likes on my Instagram feed. Coots are the most popular animals by far. I am guaranteed likes if I post a picture of a Coot. Some of my Coot images have even been stolen and repurposed (I interpret this as a modern form of praise, not plagiarism).
It may be that we feel a little sorry for the Coot. We do relate to them, they are always the creature at the back of the pack, behind the Swans and the Ducks and the dive-bombing Gulls, when a kid opens a bag of Kingsmill by the duck pond.
Parakeets, however, are maligned; there are sites on the Internet offering services to eradicate Parakeets, and this maybe because the Parakeets don’t make it easy for themselves, they make a noise that offends some ears. Instead of the gentle twitter of garden birds, the Parakeets cry is rasping, They have an uncommon coloration, that looks unusual, possibly flashy in our muted sunlight, and their purposeful flight paths are direct and unwavering almost arrogant.
They are unfamiliar creatures but when you listen carefully over time you can make sense of the Parakeets calls, some calls bring a fellow Parakeet closer and there are some that they use when thy are flying together, presumably to keep in tune with their flight path (much as our air traffic controllers do). Yet they are also stickers. They didn’t intend to come here. We brought them. Having got here they were released into a cold and unfamiliar climate with a fauna that was not advantageous to fruit-eating birds, especially those used to enjoying a long languid Indian summer.
But they are clinging on. There are making the best of the Commons and Parks. Finding some shared land, running with the Squirrels (who are also a non-naïve species and invasive), banding together into small groups of Parakeets to protect a tiny piece of high altitude turf and get the smallest clawed leg up. They hunker down in the rough times and enjoy the good times when they come.
Slowly they are finding their place, assimilating into our world. They seem to enjoy nesting in the large London Plane trees. A tree that is now common in London but was only brought here in the last century because of its ability to survive a thick London smog (the London Plane is alleged to be a hybrid of two other non-native Planes, possibly the American and the Asian).
Some UK newspapers are printing stories advocating culling Parakeets.
Many agree that diversity has made us Londoners strong. London would not be London without its aliens. Plane-tree-lined streets, Canada Geese in St James Park, the Grey Squirrel scuttling along the sides of the train tracks. Even the Urban pigeon that was synonymous with, but now unfortunately largely absent from Trafalgar Square, is the result of us breeding a domesticated Rock Pigeon. With a little time and a little patience, the Parakeet starts to become familiar. I can now pick out their cry when a small group fly above my terrace. I can differentiate a call and tell when one Parakeet will quickly be accompanied by one of its friends. You have to admire any creature’s ability to take on the odds, live outside its comfort zone and turn a foreign world into some kind of home. They are frustrating creatures to photograph but when you get one they do look a lot more attractive than the native blackbird. The parakeets make London richer with their presence as do our other aliens.