Sunday, 18 March 2012

Project Parakeet

We've all seen and heard the pesky parakeets that swoop and screech over our green spaces and gardens. With their bright green plumage and long tails, they are an exotic and perhaps attractive sight at first, even if their squawking and squealing takes some getting used to. But they are an invasive species and not generally regarded as a welcome addition to our natural environment.

In fact, such has been the concern about the growing numbers of these birds and their potential impact on other birds and on agriculture that Imperial College has launched Project Parakeet which is now in its third year and aims to assess:
  • the size, distribution and predicted growth of the population
  • the ecological impact on UK biodiversity
  • the economic impact on UK agri-ecosystems
To estimate numbers and growth, the Project holds quarterly counts at several well-known roosts in the London area. One of the biggest roosts is at Hither Green cemetery where several thousand parakeets from all over the SE London area spend the night. By all accounts, the arrival at dusk of so many of these birds is a quite amazing spectacle. The next count is being held on the evening of 1 April and volunteers are being called for to assist with the count at Hither Green. Volunteers are asked to arrive at 7.00 pm and it is expected that the count will end at 8.15 pm approx.

If you're interested in helping, take a look at their website: You can contact the organisers at: <>

Incidentally, Project Parakeet uses the name Rose-Ringed Parakeet for these birds (as does Wikipedia). The RSPB, the BTO and most birders I know call them Ring-Necked Parakeets. But what's in a name? They're the same noisy beast


  1. Hi Tom,
    Please can you tell me if this blog has a contact email?

    Mine is LewishamGardens AT gmail DOT com


  2. Dear LG,
    Will reply to you direct,

  3. Hi Tom-
    The Project Parakeet Team have written a nice piece about the roost count here:

    Did you go? There is another count on the evening of 21 July.

    1. Thanks - yes its an interesting piece. I did go and it was quite a sight although the numbers were down because of the breeding season and the fact that the female parakeets stay on their nests. The next count is actually 1 July (not 21st) and should be a biggie because all the birds and their youngsters will be there!