Dutch Donderdag – A Little bit of the Exotic

Wander around the city of Amsterdam for any length of time & eventually you will hear a rather unusual bird call. A call that’s more ‘squawk’, than the usual tuneful twittering bird calls of Europe {listen below}. If you’re lucky & look up in time you may see a bird flying overhead, one with a long tail, one that looks rather like a parrot.

http://www.xeno-canto.org/embed.php?XC=36899&simple=0

No, you’re not seeing things… these are the rose-ringed (aka rosenecked) parakeets of Amsterdam.

These foreign interlopers have been around for about 35 years, having probably escaped from private collections (or deliberately released), although the majority of individuals now living were born in the wild.

Despite their tropical appearance these parakeets are pretty hardy birds, having originated from the foothills of the Himalayas. They even breed during the winter. So for these guys a Dutch winter doesn’t put too much of a dent in their population.

The best place to see parakeets is in Vondelpark, in the heart of Amsterdam, where the population rules the roost (pun intended). Even just taking a walk along residential streets you’re pretty sure to at least hear them.

Some people see parakeets as pests, but currently their ecological impact seems to be minimal. Personally I love seeing these birds. I think they add an air of the exotic to Amsterdam, especially during the cold winter months when most ‘sensible’ birds have migrated to somewhere nice, warm & dry.

So, whilst wandering Amsterdam, don’t forget to look up occasionally… although don’t do it with your mouth open… who knows when one will decide to get rid of a few grams 😉

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