“Wild parrot colony” spotted in Bethnal Green

Bemused residents are getting their feathers in a flap over a “wild parrot colony” that’s set up home in a Bethnal Green tree

Self-employed artist Michelle Sinnott, 55, told the Advertiser: “There is wild parrot colony near the London Buddhist centre on Globe Road. There’s a pub nearby and I should imagine people stand outside smoking and notice the birds.

“I’ve seen them a few times, but they are particularly visible at roosting time, just before sundown. I’ve seen at least 10 or 15 - you can’t quite believe there are all these birds! I looked on the internet and apparently there are several parakeet colonies in London.”

Michelle, of Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, is a keen photographer and plans to try to snap the birds, although the colony wasn’t there when she and the Advertiser’s photographer visited the tree this week.

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said the parrots are likely to be ring-necked parakeets, which are bright green with a red “collar” marking around their neck.

He said he has noticed them himself around the capital and added: “The ring-necks are native to areas around India and the Himalayas, so can easily cope with our changeable climate.

“Over the past fifteen or twenty years, their numbers have exploded and they now number some 30,000 to 50,000, living mostly around suburban west and south London.”

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There are various urban myths about how the birds arrived. One story claims singer Jimi Hendrix released a pair of parrots in Carnaby Street in the 1960s, while others claim the birds escaped from a damaged shipping container at Heathrow airport. Another legend says the birds escaped from the African Queen film set, but some people believe a London couple argued and one released the other’s treasured pets into the wild.

• Have you seen the parakeets in Bethnal Green? Send your pictures to iwitness24.com or email chloe.mayer@archant.co.uk.

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