Danson Parakeet roost rockets to 1,500 birds

The news that Ring-necked parakeets have now set up an overnight roost at Danson Park, rather than flying to Hither Green Cemetery or one of the other roost sites in south-east London, was reported here on 23rd December. At that point Chris Rose estimated 940 birds by roughly counting the silhouetted animals once they had settled.

Shortly thereafter Ralph Todd attempted to count in-flying birds on his own and got a figure of just under 900. Chris did the same thing on December 8th, when all the action happened between 16.16 and 16.48, and came up with a figure of 1,309 by trying to count each individual. Both found it difficult to keep track of incoming birds which ‘tree-hopped’ along the edge of the lake until they get to the final roosting trees, making it’s hard to know at what point to start counting them, then whether they had been accidentally double-counted – or not counted at all. In addition, others moving in from the west became hard to see against the dark line of trees in that direction.

Chris felt that 1,309 was an under-count so also counted the ‘roosted’ birds twice, in estimated tens, giving figures of 1,560 and 1,650.

Whichever count is taken, all three point to a significant increase over the 900 or so counted only a couple of weeks previously. Furthermore, at that time two Poplars and two smaller trees were being used for roosting. Now an additional four Poplars are being used.

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Danson Park in October 2014, looking north across the lake to some of the Poplars now being used as an overnight Ring-necked Parakeet Roost (Photo: Chris Rose)

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