Sunday, June 23, 2024

Ireland invaded … parrots? | Science | News | the sun

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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I amThis is the same collared parrot species (Psittacus krameri) Which, a few generations ago, could only be observed in Africa and India. But it has adapted well to the cooler English climate since the 1980s, which we then saw appearing in many major European cities.

Last time on the list: Dublin, where local bird watchers first reported the event in January.

And the “problem” is no longer just European: more than 35 countries have reported a growth in the number of free roaming parrots, including Israel, Azerbaijan and the United States (especially in the southern part of them, from California to Florida). That’s in fact, the New Scientist noted last year, “one of the biggest hits among invasive species.” Except that, like any self-respecting invasive species, its success makes it a nuisance to others: Parrots move birds to establish their nests in the trees, which are fierce competition in the fruit and nut race. It can also become a burden to planting in some areas.

Perhaps this population was all descendants of the subspecies that occupied the Indian subcontinent. Some of the birds that escaped from their habitations early in the nineteenth century by the English date back to the Empire in which the sun never set, until colonies were established in a permanent fashion in the 1960s. There, from the 1980s, it spread throughout London, and later on to Scotland. It is assumed that the first inhabitants of the continent were the result of tourists who brought a family with them. Ornithologists now consider them to be an “artificial” species, meaning that they partly depend on humans for their survival: these birds benefit from the city’s heat and nutrients.

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It is still a species that was originally adapted to the tropical climate. Experts speculate that genetic selection occurred at some point, between the 1960s and 1980s, even though people better suited to the cold passed this trait on to their descendants. But soon, global warming may come and give them a boost …

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