Birds

The Friends of Kennington Park have taken  part in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 RSPB Garden Bird watch and counted numerous pigeons, sparrow, red wings and lots of parakeets.

The ring-necked or rose-ringed parakeet is the UK's most numerous naturalised parrot and they have been sighted in London over many years. The noisy birds normally roost in largish flocks. Although they are of tropical origin, they have managed to cope with the cold British winters.  They feed on a variety of fruit, berries, nuts, seeds, grain and household scraps.

There are various theories as to how the parakeets arrived in London. One is that they escaped from Twickenham Studies during the filming of the 1951 Bogart/Hepburn film "The African Queen". Another has it that a pair were released in Carnaby Street by the musician Jimi Hendrix in the swinging 60s or that parakeets escaped from an aviary damaged in bad weather. In December 2019 the press announced that the "Hendrix parakeet story just wont fly". Research says sightings of the exotic birds, which now thrive in large colonies, date back as far as the 1860s. People kept parrots as pets and researchers say dramatic media coverage of parrot  fever spreading from  the birds to humans, from 1929 to 1931 and again in 1952 may have prompted people to release their pet birds.  The author of the recent research study said "it would be much easier to let the parrot out of the window than to destroy it".

In June 2018 Bee Urban (our park neighbours) hosted an event in the first British Swift Awareness week.  The numbers of swifts have dropped by 50% in the last 20 years, this is largely due to the loss of nesting sites as a result of  new building techniques and materials and insulation for older buildings.  Happily on our swift Swift walk around Kennington Park we saw Swifts hovering far above.  They arrive in the UK from Africa in May and nest through to August in small holes in eaves, gables or upper walls, feeding on insects and spiders.  For more information about swifts and their conservation, visit

www.swift-conservation.org

In October 2018 a surprise visitor to the park was spotted - a pheasant!

On 5 May 2019, to coincide with International Dawn Chorus Day, Kennington Park had its own Dawn Chorus walk at 5am.  Led by FOKP member Erica, seen and heard were:

Blackbird

Mistle thrush

Robin

Wren

Blue tit

Great tit

House sparrow

Goldfinch

Starling

Dunnock

Wood pigeon

Feral pigeon

Stock dove

Carrion crow

Magpie

Ring-necked parakeet

Herring gull


Also, spotted in the distance flying over, several Cormorants.

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