The secret place in West London where you can feed wild parakeets from your hands


One of the weirder sights of modern London is you might be walking down a quiet residential street and see a flock of bright green parakeets fly over you.

These are ring-necked parakeets, Britain’s only naturalised parrot, and are one of the latest additions to London’s fauna.

Their population boomed in the last 50 years and can be seen and heard across most of the capital.

Whereas in most areas they timidly stick to the tops of trees, in some places they have become so used to people that they will happily come land on you, if you have something to offer them of course.

This means that not even leaving the city you can feed wild parrots.

Where to feed them

Thanks to the constant stream of people walking through London’s parks the birds that live there don’t see us as much of a threat.

That means if you put some seed in your hand, hold it out and wait patiently in the right place one of the parakeets could come down for a snack.

One such place is Kensington Gardens in West London.

The easiest Tube station to get there is Lancaster Gate.

Cross the busy road to get to the top of Hyde Park and follow the path down along the west side of the Serpentine.

What you’re looking for is the Peter Pan statue.




Around there are plenty of trees and bushes filled the little squawkers that are used to landing on people.

You’ll often see other people feeding the parakeets to give you an idea of the best place to go.

What they like to eat

In their native habit in Asia they eat mostly fruit but they have become omnivores since arriving in Britain.

They’ll be happy eating anything from bird feed to scraps of meat.

You might see someone nervously holding an apple stuck on the end of a street but regular wild bird seed will be just as good.

You can buy a pack of birdseed from most big supermarkets for less than a pound.



A trio of ring-necked parakeets keep an eye on things

How they got to London

Myths have built up around how these exotic birds got to London.

In one telling the parakeets are the descendants of birds released by music legend Jimi Hendrix during his time living in the city.

Others will tell you that the original birds escaped from the set of the 1950s film The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.

Further rumours say the birds were released during a drunken fight between George Michael and Boy George, an aviary broken during the Great Storm of 1987 or that they escaped while being transported at Heathrow Airport.



Our journalist tries to get to know his new friend

As much as we want to believe these various legends about the birds, the population likely built up gradually as pets were released or escaped.

Wherever they came from they the parakeets have now spread across London, squawking loudly outside bedroom windows.

They have thrived in the capital – a new mascot for England’s metropolis.



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Is there a weird bit of London you think we should know about? Please get in touch at charlie.jones@reachplc.com





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