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Why do we see so many parakeets roaming free in the metropolis of Lille?

Rose-ringed parakeets are more and more visible birds in the surrounding area of ​​Lille, but also in other towns in the Nord – Pas-de-Calais. (©CC/WK/Dick Daniels)

After publishing an article on a walk to discover birds, several Internet users asked us on the presence of many parakeets to Lille and its surroundings. Lille news then turned to the Ornithological and Naturalist Group (GON) of the North to explain to us where they come from and if they represent a danger.

Appeared in the middle of the 20and century

Florent Bastianelli, member of the Northern Ornithological and Naturalist Group (GON), traced the evolution of this parakeet: “It is a ring-necked parakeet, a bird whose range is shared between Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian basin. It was introduced in Europe during the second half of the 20and century, certainly from airports. »

This parakeet has bright green plumage, measuring about forty centimeters, with a very long tail. “This bird has a very large beak that is hooked, to eat seeds and stone fruits”, underlines Florent. If we can distinguish the male from the female, thanks to his black and pink collar, they are both very noisy and audible.

This bird, which can live for several decades, is very sedentary. But is it really made for the northern climate? According to our specialist, this is the case. “Ring-necked parakeets have managed some adaptation to the climate. They are very happy in the urban environment since it is a fairly important source of food resources. If they migrate it is to seek food elsewhere,” he reports.

How many parakeets are there?

If one can think that these birds fly where the wind takes them, the reality is quite different. “Ring-necked parakeets are very organized. During the day, they move a lot to feed, but no insects, only seeds and small fruits. In the evening, they return to all the others in a kind of dormitory. The latter is in Roubaix. »

There are several population centers in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais, notably in “Valenciennes, Dunkerque and Grande-Synthe, but the biggest is in Roubaix”. Counts are made to follow the evolution of the population: “The figures have stabilized. They bring in around 5,000 individuals,” confirms Florent Bastianelli.

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Is this population, which was expanding until recently, dangerous for other species in the region? According to several studies reported to us by the GON, this is not the case: “It does not attack other birds or their eggs. On the other hand, it can compete for food or even habitats”.

The association remains cautious and attentive all the same regarding the evolution of the impacts of these birds in the North: “In India, the parakeets are much more numerous and can sometimes have a strong impact on plantations and fields. In the North, this case is not yet observable”.

How to deal with a parakeet?

“It is an animal that is not very shy, except during the breeding season. However, they should not be fed, explains Florian Bastianelli. We must avoid disturbing the ecosystem, they know where to find the resources necessary for their survival. »

But is it possible to adopt one? No, replies the association: “These parakeets have been wild for several decades, today it is no longer parakeets that have escaped. They have no domestic instincts. » What if the bird has fallen, or been injured? Same answer, it is not allowed to keep the bird at home.

“There is a general gait for a wild bird in bad shape. In 90% of cases, it is a fledgling that has fallen from the nest. It should be raised if possible. Otherwise, you have to call a care center for care, we are told. It is necessary to turn to specialists, bringing a bird home in this way is illegal. »

What is the Ornithological and Naturalist Group?

The GON is an association of more than 50 years, established in the North and the Pas-de-Calais. Its members study and accumulate knowledge about birds, but also beyond. Their goal is to produce knowledge, provide training and highlight this knowledge through publications, communication or prevention.

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