Nationwide Netting - Bird Netting, Proofing and Exclusion

Ring-necked Parakeets – The Grey Squirrel of the sky?

Often claimed to have been first released by Jimi Hendrix in London in 1960’s, the population of ring-necked parakeet across the UK has exploded in recent years. Initially confined to the South-East of England there are now confirmed sightings nationwide, as far north as Aberdeenshire.

As fun as the various release stories are (did you hear about the birds that escaped from the set of ‘The African Queen’ in the 1950’s?) it’s believed they have been in the UK much longer, as far back as the late 1800’s.

Originally from various regions across Africa and Asia they have proven to be hugely adaptable to our climate and as such are now recognised as the most northerly breeding species of parrot anywhere in the world. But what effect does this invasive species have on our native flora and fauna and our economy?

What is the problem?

Studies suggest that There are hundreds of thousands of invasive parakeets across Europe – with most recent counts in the UK claiming 8600 breeding pairs in 2012, then 15,550 breeding pairs in 2015. Estimates suggest that there may now be as many as 25000 breeding pairs. Moving forward, if the previous rates of increase continue, we could have over 90,000 breeding pairs by 2024.

The species is commonly thought of as being based in the south of England but has in fact been sighted in almost every county across the UK. They are hole nesters and can breed from as early as January and as late as July, with 2-4 eggs laid each year, breeding success has also been noted to be particularly high – perhaps explaining the species success and spread.

The implications of such a high population of an invasive species are substantial. Kent University estimated invasive alien species present an urgent economic, environmental, and societal problem, causing €12.5 billion of damage to the EU’s economy every year. Because of this, invasive species are commonly seen to be one of the greatest threats to the world’s economy, with the cost to the UK being estimated at £1.7 billion each year.

When examining the damage Parakeets can cause in the UK, there are two main issues. Firstly, there is economic damage. With their strong beaks and varied diet, Parakeets can quickly eat into a farms profit margin, with fruits and corn being the main crops affected. When considering the rapid rate of reproduction and the spread of distribution, this has the potential to become a major issue in years to come, with Parakeets potentially becoming as problematic as Wood pigeons or Corvids. Additionally, their strong beaks also allow them to create nesting spaces in the smallest of holes, meaning that property damage is also something that is becoming more frequent, as populations rise and space becomes harder to find.

The second major issue caused by Parakeets is the damage to the delicate UK ecosystems. Parakeets are well adapted to surviving and many of our native species are simply not equipped to compete with them. In particular they have been observed chasing Starlings and woodpeckers from nesting sites, whilst competition with smaller birds over food sources such as bird feeders is becoming more and more common. With many of our native songbirds in decline, there is the potential for this new competition to bring species even closer to extinction.

Is there a solution?

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are fully aware of the potential of allowing populations to continue to rise. As such they have issued General Licenses that allow for the removal of live birds, their eggs and their nests as long as we meet their strict guidelines meaning we are either conserving native flora and fauna, OR preventing serious damage to crops, fruit and vegetables.

Unfortunately it looks as if the Parakeet is here to stay, with such a well-established population it is unlikely that complete eradication is possible. However, what we CAN do is prevent further spread of this damaging and dangerous species, by dealing with new localised populations early and efficiently.

This means that if you see Parakeets in your area, action needs to be taken IMMEDIATELY, if allowed to establish then removal will be almost impossible.

One of the major issues with dealing with such a charismatic species in this way will always be public perception. Publicised culls will almost always be met with opposition from those who believe the species should be allowed to establish. We however, believe that the right to choose should belong to the property owner and to this end we have developed discreet and effective methods of operation that allow us to deal with the problem without creating confrontation, nipping new populations in the bud before they can establish. In our opinion this is the only way to prevent Parakeets becoming our generations Grey squirrel.

For our economy, and our ecosystems, Parakeets need to be contained.

Feral Pigeons - The Feathered Squatter

Feral Pigeons are a huge problem in the modern, urban landscape. Abandoned and derelict buildings often offer perfect habitats that mimic the pigeons natural, windswept, cliff face breeding ground. Given a breeding pair can raise up to 10 squabs (young) a population can soon explode! 

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