People must stop importing exotic birds, says Jeremy Schack. This causes an imbalance in the food chain when exotic birds disrupt the very existence of indigenous birds. These visitors force native birds from their ecosystems, threatening their livelihoods.
Jeremy is an Earth Kid who has been stuck in France during the global Covid 19 lockdown. He decided to hold a Biodiversity Party for the Rose-ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri) which are part of the Collared Parakeet family. Jeremy did some research and shared it with his peers.
Rose-ringed Parakeets are Exotic Invasives
Jeremy discovered that these birds, now found in France, are actually an invasive species which are disrupting indigenous birds in the country. How did they get to France when they originate from Africa and Asia?
Well, it so happened that there was an accident when apparently “a few individuals escaped from planes that landed at Orly and Roissy airports in the 1970’s and 1990’s respectively. The birds smoothly transitioned to the temperate climate of the region, in which temperatures are mild year round, and in the absence of competition and predators on the newly conquered range, they rapidly spread to most parts of the urban area, inhabiting its numerous parks, woods and private gardens.” Yalakom website highlights how well the birds are now doing in France.
“Rose-ringed Parakeets are a danger for birds and animals that are protected and threatened with extinction – such as bats and tits (mésange), ” said Jeremy.He found out that they eat buds from trees and chestnuts – chasing other species like the red squirrel from these foraging areas. “In large numbers they are a threat to nature.”
Jeremy’s Findings about Parakeets
- The Rose-ringed Parakeets are tropical birds.
- They originate from tropical forests in Africa and India.
- They have a bright green colour.
- They have a high-pitched noise.
- There were about 50 of them left in 1970.
- 50 years ago, many of them flew out of their cages at the airport.
- Now there are about 8,000 to 10,000 in France.
- They live for about 40 years. Today owners who are bored of looking after their birds, let them fly away. This affects different endemic species as the Parakeets multiply quickly.
These parakeets are predators for the local birds, added Jeremy. “They hatch their chicks in December, much earlier than the local birds. They steal other local birds’ nests to lay their eggs. When the local bird comes back to its nest, to lay its eggs, it has been stolen. Then it does not have enough time to make another one.”
These birds are remarkably loud, a trait amplified by their highly gregarious behavior. They can form flocks of a few hundreds while night communal roosts often count dozens, to the dismay of locals―relentless aviary noises are not to the taste of everyone―and much to the detriment of their cars parked under the gathering trees.
Jeremy has invited the legendary scientist, Oliver Païkine, to be guest speaker at his Biodiversity Party. Jeremy learned from this bird researcher that even if these birds become over-populated, there is still a free space available in France for them in the ecological system. “There are already too many to get rid of them. We’ll have to adapt to them,” said Païkine.
He added that the presence of Rose-ringed Parakeets in French cities does not currently pose a global problem of cohabitation with other species. “For the moment, they occupy a vacant place, an ecological niche that is still unoccupied,” he said. They like plane trees in the cities where they find holes to nest in.
Jeremy Makes a Good Smoothie!
- Biodiversity Party Theme: The Rose-ringed (Collared) Parakeets (Perruches) invasion in France.
- Place: Private garden, Paris surrounds, France.
- Food to share: ‘Biodiversity Smoothie’ & light salads.
- Everyone is welcome.
- Talk by: ‘Oliver Païkine’, in charge of the birds’ protection.
- Main message: ‘Save the birds’ in Europe and surrounds. Stop importing tropical birds.
If you were to hold a Biodiversity Party, who would YOU invite and who would be YOUR guest speaker?
It is very sad that illegal trade in parrots (parakeets are part of the parrot family) is so rife. It is great that Jeremy has highlighted this issue. Organized-crime rackets that have made billions of dollars trafficking animals such as elephants and rhinos have added parrots to their repertoire. Australian palm cockatoos have been known to fetch up to $30,000 a bird on the black market. The illegal parrot trade is rampant in Latin America and the Caribbean, where laws against it can be lax or difficult to enforce.
It seems that birds are very valuable pets to have. Earth Kids would much rather save a pet from an animal charity then buy a bird at a pet shop where they have been trapped illegally as part of the wildlife trade!
Join the Movement – No More Wildlife Trade!