Parakeets go pop…
I had a lovely message yesterday from Barbara Chandler, a reporter at the Evening Standard. I am very grateful to her for mentioning us in her piece on a Parrot based aesthetic in the Homes and Property section of the paper this week. I am glad that Parakeets are hitting the zeitgeist, finding their rightful place in London 'POPular' culture. Many thanks to Barbara for your message and the lovely mention in your paper. Equally, if anybody is keen to bring their Parrots indoors I can do little more than endorse the suggestions that Barbara has sourced. After all, the rightful place for a Parakeet is in the wild. A parrot mug, on the other hand, that is a treasure. Keep that one close!
Further reading on the South West London Parakeets
Quite often in South-West London, it's raining. At this time of year, let's just say it's pretty common. But that doesn't stop us getting out in the Park, It does, however, impact your ability to point a camera to the tree tops without getting raindrops all over our skylight filter. If you find yourself stuck indoors with a soggy lens on a wet afternoon there are plenty of other Parakeet resources available on the internet.
Here are some articles I have come across presenting unique perspectives on the Parakeets of South West London.
If you are in any way interested in Parakeets here is a balanced piece by the RSPCA and possibly the best basic outline of the bird’s background and habits. RSPB
If you have a distrust of anything alien to these shores here is a great article from the Daily Mail outlining the impending doom and menace presented by 50,000 marauding foreign parakeets. Daily Mail
If this article in any way strikes a chord with you I have included opposite, a picture of a Robin taken in Battersea Park. (If you want to use this image on your Christmas card design, next year you are welcome, I only ask that you like this page and mention it while sharing a link on Social Media).
Rock fans will appreciate this article in the Music Times highlighting the Hendrix connection. There are no images of Parakeets however there is a large library shot of Jimi Hendrix. Music Times
'I rejoice in the Parakeets.'*
The early heralding of spring in my observations may have been premature, We had a single day with a beautiful blue sky and since then we have had nothing but grey and cold, So cold, a beep on my car dashboard keeps warning me of icy roads. My observation of the shops being stocked with Easter eggs was 100% correct and some of the trees in the park and on the common are beginning to bud. However, as a result of the cold, the Parakeets are hunkered down. They are sitting in a handful of the trees on Battersea Park and keeping their bodies tightly held in to protect against the cold.
While the Parakeets bide their time until the sky’s clear again and they can display their plumage I have been out on the Internet finding another crop of parakeet coverage.
I found this wonderful apocalyptical article from the American news network CNN announcing that our feral friends are poised for global domination. The writer has not yet identified a strain of parakeets that has evolved opposable thumbs so I think we will be safe in our South West London residences for a while and we should not invest in Parakeet proof shutters in preparation for a Hichcockesque moment.
The article does also contain some other interesting insight as to how the birds themselves may have got here. CNN
On a separate note, I have blatantly borrowed the title of this piece from David Attenborough, who in the BBC2 video feature below describes the Parakeets he finds in his West London Garden as ‘glamorous oriental strangers’.
There is also a lovely lady in this piece who adds a moment’s reality check to some of the xenophobia that appears in a lot of the coverage of the birds online. Her presence wonderfully offsets the Surrey wine grower who although I have every sympathy with his plight. Losing output is problematic and costly for him, however from a biological perspective, although we have had vines in the UK since the Roman times we should remember that it was the Romans that introduced vines to Southern England and the Romans were after all human. I have drunk the grower’s wine and it is rather pleasant, but in essence, the debate is about the value of delight. I love a glass of wine and a good wine is a great thing, however, we have two non-native species both delivering delight. It’s just that the Parakeets have not yet worked out a way to charge for their spectacle. BBC2, Steve Punt and David Attenborough.
For a totally selfless and wonderfully human view on Parakeets, we should possibly turn to somewhere a little closer to the Parakeets homeland. In Chennai in India, there is a wonderful man named Joseph Sekar who spends 40% of his income on feeding thousands of Parakeets, boiled rice twice a day. So far his gentle passion has also cost him his knees but won him the praise of his neighbours. Who rather than objecting to the noise wonder at the spectacle.
I cannot help noticing how much more magnificent the native Indian Birds look against a wonderful blue Chennai sky. If we go with CNN 's theory then the Indian bird is the same subspecies that we have making a home here in Battersea. Be patient guys. when Sainsbury's start stocking easter eggs it is only a short wait for the better weather.
Headline quote * David Attenborough