Friday, 28 February 2014

Parakeets are invading Brussels

A parakeet nest place d'Arezzo in Brussels
You probably heard about about human introduced species invading and devastating countries such as (cane) toads in Australia, but lots of lesser known and more surprising stories can be found all over the world. This is the case of Rose ringed parakeets invading Brussels.

When Greeks went to war with the east around the 11th century, they were far from imagining the impact the parakeets they brought back would have on the indigenous bird population of Brussels.

It all started in 1974 when a animal park in the north of the Belgian capital released 40 parakeets to enhance their visitor's experience. These birds gave birth to more than 10,000 parakeets that now live in Brussels parks such as the place d'Arezzo pictured. Their number is growing at an alarming rate going from 6900 specimens in 2005 to more than 11,000 in 2011. You can have look at the number of parakeets sightings here.

Probably the best place to spot
parakeets in Brussels
The fear of psittacosis (known as the parrot disease) must have made things worse with lots of parrot/parakeet owners releasing them fearing an infection.


So many of them !
The local population seems to enjoy their presence and feeds them, apparently liking the green and exotic touch parakeets bring to their neighbourhood. Getting rid of these invaders will be difficult thanks to the affection locals have for these birds... and imagine getting rid of 10,000 birds the population loves when it all started with only 40 specimens.

Feeding parakeets is definitely
not a good idea
Brussels is by no means the only city in Western Europe suffering from parakeets. Amsterdam and London apparently got the same brilliant idea in the 60's and 70's.

Place d'Arezzo with its remarkable nests

Sources: l'avenir, wikipedia