Tuesday 16 January 2018

#415 Birds on the run

On occasion, I'll wake to observe, perched on the tree outside my window, a large green bird.

Brightly coloured and sometimes mistaken for parrots, these particular birds are an Indian subspecies known as the ring-necked parakeet. First sighted in the mid-nineties, their population has since spread throughout London and the RSPB estimates there to be around 20,000.

Visitors to the capital are often surprised to encounter such exotic birds and upon moving here, I was no exception. Their squawk is as unusual as their appearance and how they came to be in London remains a mystery.

There are two leading theories. The first is that the parakeets escaped from the set of a film called The African Queen, which was being shot at Isleworth Studios in 1951. This seems unlikely, as it would mean that the population remained minimal for decades before exploding in the '90s, for no apparent reason.

The second theory is that the birds were being kept in one of the aviaries that were located on the border of Surrey. Several aviaries were destroyed in The Great Storm of 1987 and it's suspected the parakeets may have been among the escapees.


Fizzfan said...

Have you seen The Birds? Just saying......

Best scary film I ever saw in my yoof

Profound Familiarity said...

I don't think I've seen it.

Clips of it maybe.

They were like seagulls, right?

Fizzfan said...

I think you’re right. Good old Alfred Hitchcock was quite good at creeping people out.
You’d look at it now and think that’s so lame but in ‘those’ days it was pretty shocking.

Saw a clip the other night of people commenting after they’d seen The Exorcist in the 70s. Fainting in the cinemas!

Can’t say it had that effect on me but it was still quite scary.

Profound Familiarity said...

Yes apparently the Exorcist was notoriously scary. These days, I suppose people are more likely to watch it for fun.

I've never liked scary films unless they involve animals eg. Jaws.