As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 28 December 2018

The parakeets of Barcelona

It is impossible to visit the charming Catalan capital of Barcelona and not manage to see or hear parakeets. Their excitable, raucous squawks are audible just about anywhere in the city, even on its busiest streets, and most mornings you will hear them even from your hotel bedroom, as they noisily leave roost sites and head out for the day.
While self-sustaining populations of various parakeet species can be found in the urban sprawls of many European cities, no more pronounced are these exotic settlers than on the streets of Barcelona, where a remarkable seven species can be found, each established to a varying degree thanks to an agreeable year-round climate and a lack of predators and competition.
Of these, it is Monk Parakeet that is the commonest. They are so prominent that, in some parts, they have themselves become tourist attractions within tourist attractions for the millions of sightseers visiting the city each year. Noisy flocks can be encountered at just about all city's main sights, including the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Arc de Triomf. At Güell in particular, their huge, communal nests, built of sticks, are apparent on almost every palm tree surrounding Gaudí’s famous sculptural buildings. Meanwhile, adjacent to the Arc de Triomf is Parc de la Ciutadella, where literally hundreds of them can be found, flying around or feeding unconcernedly on the grass, often just centimetres from groups of gawping, smartphone-armed tourists, firing off innumerable selfies with the overly friendly Psittacines.


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