19 April, 2013

Parakeets doing stuff with blossom

They don't get a brilliant press these days, and you could argue a pretty strong case for eradicating every last one of the screeching little buggers from the country, but when it comes to sheer beauty, and their superb ability to adapt to alien environments, you've got to admire Ring-necked Parakeets... c'mon, even just slightly?

I'll admit to having a soft spot for these guys, so much so that back on Tuesday I went out of my way to drive down to Bushy Park to photograph them feeding on the emerging blossom.

... I say 'feeding', when actually I'm not quite sure what they were doing with the blossom (hence why I've left the title open to interpretation). The parakeet would land on a branch, pick off an individual flower and twirl it around (held by the stalk) in it's beak for a few seconds, before dropping the flower to the ground. It would then repeat this until every flower on the branch had been picked and dropped, with no visible part of the flower eaten. Perhaps they were taking advantage of some kind of sugar substance from the end of the stalk?

This video, taken by Max Whitby (of Birdguides), shows the behaviour well: 

A male Pheasant was finishing off the dropped flower heads on the ground below; can't remember the last time I saw a Pheasant in Bushy Park; guess that's one thing to thank the Parakeets for, even if they do scare everything else away.

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