Green-feathered immigrant surge prompts Greek parakeet count

The raucous squawking comes first. Chances are they’ll are noticed, banking and diving before they crash-land on trees.

If Greeks were being told, up until now, that their skies would become the preserve of ring-necked parakeets, the response might have been considered one of incredulity.

But that has been until the parks and gardens of Athens, and other cities, became colonised by bright-green, red-beaked parrots. There are now so many of the birds how the Hellenic Ornithological Society is using a Christmas parrot count to the year in the hope of learning the extent of the aerial invasion.

“It’s an important census that we’ll be accomplishing in Athens, Thessaloniki and urban areas on islands like Rhodes and Crete,” said Panagiotis Latsoudis, who heads the society. “In Crete we predict parrot populations have gone up greatly in any major cities.”

For a long period Latsoudis, a school teacher by profession, has become visiting the parks of Greece, usually at sunset, to roost count.

The outcomes of his labours have gone him in undoubtedly which the southern European nation has changed into a habitat of untamed parakeets more normally related to India, Asia, Latin America and Africa. Evidence has mounted of parrots competing for nesting holes with woodpeckers and bats.

In some ways, the Greek capital differs little from different European cities where the birds seemed to be multiplying at alarming rates. Parks in Brussels happen to be so overrun by parrots that debate has flourished to whether the birds are getting to be an invasive species prone to outbreeding indigenous pigeons and sparrows.

But because their latest favoured destination Greece usually hold special appeal.

“The weather conditions here i will discuss ideal for their survival,” Latsoudis told the Guardian. “Not since the world war ii have our parks been so mature, so filled with exotic plants and fruit-bearing trees, which help it much easier for your birds to live and breed.”

It remains mysterious concerning how birds native to Africa and also the Indian subcontinent first have got to Greece.

Ornithologists say parrots may not be “typical migrants” thus unfit to be having flown huge distances via traditional migratory routes. Instead, most believe you’ll find birds escapees much such as that escaped parakeets were first spotted in the united kingdom in the 1800s.

“Far from as an urban myth we believe they probably first arrived at cages at the old Athens airport and then escaped from captivity,” said Roula Tigrou at the ornithological society. “The first sightings of parrots were around there.”

Last month, authorities took urgent steps to remove parrot nests from trees in Athens’ national gardens, now a host for monk parakeets, for concern about the danger they posed to passing pedestrians. Indicative of the birds’ breeding rates C and healthy Mediterranean diet C some nests became so gravid we were looking at prone to crashing from trees.

The census, initiated in advance of Christmas, involves ornithologists taking videos and screengrabs for you to trace the parakeets and, said Latsoudis, aims to ascertain how soon parrot populations are proliferating.

Across Europe you’ll find fears of the birds endangering native biodiversity. The European commission is considering placing parakeets with a number of invasive alien species.

In Israel, parrots that has a liking for sunflower seeds were blamed for damage to crops.

“Unlike our inaugural count a year ago this one targets seeing how rapidly there’re increasing just in case they generally do so in a could become problematic,” said Latsoudis. “But Need to say there is never been any complaint of any damage here.”

Like environmentalists elsewhere, Greek ornithologists detect a prejudice against the exotic birds, drawing parallels while using the way immigrants are susceptible to xenophobic abuse. “It sounds extreme but the same arguments widely-used when people talk about the risk of parrots threatening our indigenous local fauna,” said Latsoudis. “Just when we hear that immigrants can take over our countries and houses, we hear that parrots will eclipse all your other birds.”

Parakeets, he explained, were built with a particular penchant for eucalyptus trees in Greece. “Perhaps since they’re evergreen, willowy and high they work well for camouflage,” he explained. “Parrots could be seen as fot it.”


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