A German city will deploy falcons to chase away an invasive parrot species disturbing shoppers on one of Europe’s most luxurious shopping streets.
The rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri), a medium-sized parrot native to Africa and the Indian subcontinent, has become an invasive species in many parts of Europe after humans released the popular pets into cities across the continent.
As the bird has few predators and easy pickings for their preferred diet of seeds, nuts, fruits, and berries in many European cities, many urban conurbations have burgeoning parakeet populations creating all kinds of problems.
One of these cities is Dusseldorf, the capital of the Western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the parrots are even disturbing shoppers on the Koenigsallee, a stately street set on the banks of a canal and said to be the broadest street in Germany.
The street with its trademark trees is home to luxury brands such as Gucci and Burberry, top-end hotels and the offices of renowned lawyers.
The plane trees surrounding the canal and street are also home to one of the largest feral parakeet populations in Germany, estimated to be more than 1,200 strong.
In the morning, the birds deliver spectacularly noisy shrieks in the treetops before they embark on their journey into the surrounding countryside to forage for food, before returning in the evening with another noisy concerto in the trees before going to sleep.
The birds are also contaminating the surrounding area, with bird excrement being visible on many of the Koenigsallee’s benches.
The municipality of Dusseldorf is now so tired of the parakeets that they decided to deploy a secret weapon against the birds.
The city will deploy peregrine falcons to create “a natural balance” on the luxurious shopping street.
According to the municipal press office, an old falcon nesting box near the Koenigsallee has already been repaired as a first step.
A city spokesman added that “a new box will be built on a second site” with two other city locations also under review as a home-base for parakeet-hunting falcons.
The falcons would keep the parakeet population in check, while having the additional benefit of keeping other disturbing bird species such as pigeons at bay.
The city’s press spokesman said that it is not as straightforward as it might sound to use falcons to keep the population in check.
The spokesman said: “The creation of nesting sites at locations where falcons are already present is a fundamental requirement for the successful introduction of a breeding pair.”