Parakeets in London? How they got here, and how you feed them
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
The sun was shining over the water as we strolled through the Italian Gardens and past the Peter Pan statue. As we veered right into Kensington Gardens we came across the most exciting sight...a group of people strolling around with Indian Ringneck Parakeets perched on their arms and heads.
Now why are there Indian Ringneck Parakeets in London you may be asking? These exotic birds are definitely not native to this grey rainy island, but nobody knows exactly how they got here. One of the leading theories is that a group of the parakeets were released (or escaped?) from the set of The African Queen in 1951 when the movie was being filmed at Isleworth Studios. Another (possibly more likely) theory is that they escaped when some aviaries were destroyed in Surrey during The Great Storm of 1987. Either way they are here and they are thriving. The RSPB estimates around 8,600 breeding pairs live in London and surrounding areas.
We quickly joined the crowd and offered up their favourite snacks: sunflower seeds, peanuts and apples. It didn't take long for a parakeet to swoop down and dive in for some tasty treats. They were not shy at all, although a lot of the smaller native birds were. This was a parakeet dominated mealtime with some pigeons cleaning up the scraps that fell to the ground. We had so much fun interacting with the birds and watching their quirky personalities. You do have to be a bit careful as sometimes they mistake your finger for a peanut! Never enough to do any damage though.
We want to say a special thank you and shout out to Anika (@laala_the_banana) who introduced us to the London parakeets and is there feeding them (with food to share!) almost every Monday to Thursday at 6pm in Kensington Gardens. She is full of information and love for these beautiful birds. She has built a wonderful community and is always open to share her love for them. Thank you for a wonderful experience and we encourage you, whether you are a Londoner or just passing through, to visit Kensington Gardens and connect with the parakeets.
- Written by Jacque Rossi