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Cheeky Parakeets


Every time I see one of Barcelona’s many cheeky parakeets a massive smile’s plastered on my face. Maybe it’s how they use the streets as arial streets, the flash of green as they fly by that does it. Maybe it’s how growing up in the English country side, tropical islands, animals and birds were only found in books, on TV or in day dreams. Our neighbour had peacocks which was as tropical as it got.

I’m not sure how colonies started appearing throughout Spain. Legend has it some escaped from shipping crates at the port or airport back in the mid 70’s. Some say they escaped the zoo, others escaped or were intentionally released pets who got too much. I believe around 4 types of parakeets inhabit the city. Not everybody likes them. They’re gradually being found further and further outside the city, especially the monk parakeets which doesn’t go down well with farmers. The city in 1999 reintroduced peregrine falcons to help control the population are doing their bit to keep them in check. I also found out monk parakeets can be hunted during hunting season, however the outside hunting season they’re off limits unless special permits are given. The city also has kestrels who also always put a huge smile on my face wherever I see them. One sometimes uses my apartment building as a look out place and every now and then I’ll catch one flying by. The bats too always make me smile when I cycle back around dusk. At the moment insects in the trees outside are under attack from swifts (or swallows. Can never tell the difference.) by day and bats at night as I see them fly in and out under the street lights. Okay, the herons, geese and ducks I sometimes see flying overhead, the sparrows and wagtails darting around. I think we’ve established animals make me smile!

Many parakeets live in freely in the zoo or in Parc de la Ciutadella next door. I love hearing their chatter as they forage. Maybe not the screeching every now and then (I feel a little sorry for those who live constantly with the screeching), but definitely love hearing them chat, chirp and cackle away. I love how cheeky they are, how they walk, how they hold nuts, berries, figs with their claws. I love the circular entrances they make to their nests high up in the zoo palm trees.

Anyways, I’ll leave you with some who found a great patch of something tasty at the zoo last weekend.

Is there an animal or something about your city, town or village that makes you smile? If anyone is interested; the many birds found in Barcelona.

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