My favourite non-native bird

Yesterday, on the way home I was privileged enough to spy a pair of parakeets. Even though I’d heard about parakeets in Manchester and seen photographic evidence I still didn’t quite believe it.

It really made my day to see and hear the noisy pair, but as a lover of wildlife should I feel this way?

Spring is a beautiful time of year and seeing a bird that hails from the tropical climes of India and Central Africa really inspired me.

Despite this, I know these naturalised ring-necked parakeets have been dubbed the ‘grey squirrel of the skies’ and have been criticised for damaging crops and scaring native birds.

I wholeheartedly agree with protecting our native species, and I love the red squirrel, the hedgehog and our wealth of birdlife. I also understand why the grey squirrels are culled even though I am very uncomfortable with it.

The thing that I love about non-native wildlife is that in some instances, it is the most visible. It is impossible to walk past a tree containing parakeets and not know about it as they are so energetic and noisy.

British wildlife is traditionally shy or in some cases extinct or extremely rare. As much as city dwellers complain about having foxes in their bins, they know that they are there and that they need protection.

The only thing I worry about is that without animals like parakeets, Canadian geese and grey squirrels how much wildlife would we come into contact with?

I think that in order to love wildlife we must be able to interact with it in some way, especially in city parks and other green spaces.

The more we see it, the more we learn to love it. Even if, ultimately, it shouldn’t really be there in the first place…

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