The Kingston parakeets, also known as the Twickenham parakeets, are feral rose-ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri) that live in the suburbs around Kingston and Twickenham, South West London, England, numbering at least 6,000, with some estimates as high as 50,000 individuals. The origins of the flocks are subject to speculation.
Origin of the flocks
The specific origin of the birds is not known, but they most likely came from a single pair of breeding parakeets which escaped or were released in the mid-1990s. Other origins have been attributed to them: the most popular idea being that they escaped from Ealing Studios, West London, during the filming of The African Queen (which was actually made in the Isleworth Studios) in 1951. Other theories are that they escaped from an aviary during a 1987 hurricane; or that a pair released by Jimi Hendrix in Carnaby Street, London, in the 1960s, are to blame.
Parakeets in Britain
Escaped parakeets have been spotted in Britain since the 19th century, the first recorded sighting being in 1855. The numbers remained very low, however, until the mid-1990s, when the population appeared to start increasing rapidly. While parakeets have been spotted as far north as Manchester, they are most common in the south east of England, and the largest population (6,000 in a single flock) is believed to exist in the South London suburbs where, until 2007, the birds nested principally in Esher Rugby Ground, Esher. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) estimated that there would be a population of 50,000 wild parakeets in Britain by 2010.
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