Parakeets take over south London neighbourhood Grove Park to delight of locals


n scenes likened to an exotic version of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds one south London neighbourhood has been overrun by hundreds of parakeets.

Swarms of the green birds were snapped by a train depot worker as they huddled in a tree after descending on Grove Park Train Depot on Thursday morning.

David Williams, 69, on the board of the Grove Park nature reserve, said the company of parakeets showed why it was crucial to protect London’s green spaces from development.

The same tree 2 years ago

/ Kerry Waters

He told The Standard: “I’ve tried to count them but always lose my trail of thought after about 300 or 400.


“More and more come back every year. I think they came here about five years ago.

“They fly over to the cemetery and go in trees, you can catch them all flying together when it’s just getting dark.

“I love them and am very happy with them. We haven’t had heard any complaints. I would rather them than pigeons.”

The ring-necked parakeet is a medium-sized, green parrot with a long tail and a red beak.

Originally from Asia and Africa, it is now the most northerly breeding parrot in the world. They are hole-nesters, sometimes making use of old woodpecker nest holes and large nest boxes, where they raise between two and four chicks.

They feed on nuts, seeds, berries and fruits, and will also visit bird tables and garden feeders

Mr Williams added: “They sit on my balcony they really aren’t shy. They look at me through the window as if to say ‘what you doing?’ or trying to get a glimpse at what’s in my fridge.

“They seem to be alright in London, we think they originate from someone’s aviary or brought on the ships.

“It shows there is nature in London. When you see them fly over in masses it’s quite a sight to behold.

“The council are trying to build on the nature reserve because of the housing crisis but we need to protect our green spaces.

“Where will they go?”

The incredible picture shows hundreds of parakeets

/ Kerry Waters

Kerry Waters, who works in the nearby train depot, snapped a picture of hundreds of them all taking over a tree close to the Grove Park train depot.

He said: “I live in Elmstead woods and we have flocks of them that all seem to fly over our house at the same time in the morning and back again in the evening.

“I love them and always enjoy seeing and hearing them.

“They’re a little loud but I haven’t had an issue with it.

“The trees are right next to a few blocks of flats, and the noise can be pretty loud from around 5am.

“They have the train depot next to them, and live under a flight path so I have no idea how they get any sleep.”

The trees are under constant threat of development, Plans to develop Grove Park, which neighbours said formed the inspiration for Edith Nesbit’s classic The Railway Children.

Children were reportedly locked out of the reserve in 2020.

Plans for a Railway Children Urban National Park would honour the author Edith Nesbit, who lived off Baring Road in a home that backed onto woodland by the tracks to Grove Park.

Her 1906 novel is said to have been inspired by her walks in the area.

The house in the book is called Three Chimneys and Nesbit’s house in Grove Park was named Three Gables. Both houses, imaginary and real, overlooked the railway line.

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