Winter City Parakeets

No one knows the origin of Barcelona’s parakeet population. Some say they were stowaways on boats arriving in Barcelona Port in the 1970’s, others say they’re descended from Barcelona Zoo or house pet escapees, or house pets released when the owners couldn’t deal with them anymore pre 2013 when it was legal to trade Monk and Collared parakeets, just 2 of the 4 types of ‘Spanish’ parakeets.

Some like me love watching a streak of green as they fly by, listening into their cheeky chatter, watching how they use roads as their own flight paths. Other people regard them as pests that have now travelled further outside the city ruining crops. Some say their nests are dangerous due to how much they weigh if they fell on someone. Barcelona isn’t the only city in Spain with parakeets. Madrid and Valencia are just a few Spanish cites with their own populations. 

To be honest, they’re pretty kinda cool birds, happy to share with the pigeons, sparrow, starlings and blackbirds for snacks. The other day I think Parc de la Ciutadella had been closed for most of the day. Only one entrance gate open with a temporally closed sign everybody was ignoring. I had bread for the ducks, my new thing with the covid restrictions so I get my bike ride to a green place which I’m aiming to still do now restrictions are slowing being eased. I wasn’t going to go seeing all the people, but thought the ducks and geese would be extra hungry without their usual snack feeders, which I‘m not one as you can tell the ones that are. A few parakeets lined the pond railing waiting for bread pieces so nobody got fed much that day. Even the seagulls were out hungry. Knowing they wouldn’t stand a chance with pigeons that also wanted in, I placed a few pieces on the railing. Some almost took a piece out my hand, others a little more shy waiting until I wasn’t looking. While I like feeding the ducks and geese, parakeets accepting my bread made me feel extra special! Now the zoo’s back open I’ve been seeing them more relaxed than in the park. Less people around, more trees to nest in. Seeing them too as I cycle flying along streets and ramblas with twigs twice as long as them up into the trees for their nests. That flash of green and cheeky squark lights up my day 🙂

Snacks!

Pigeon Lady

Cat lady and now pigeon lady.

All throughout the summer I’ve been feeding the beach pigeons. Usually it’s a Tone It Up 3 ingredient cookie with added chopped almonds and maca powder or trail mix when I pop by for an after work or training siesta and just because I can siestas at the weekends. Recently I’ve been purposefully taking an extra cookie just for them (they’ve got me wrapped around their pinky claw). They’re not keen on dried cranberries, they like raisins and saltaunas and love almonds if you them break up for them.Beach pigeons

They’re the clean up crew. You leave, they swoop in for leftovers. The past week or 2 I think they know it’s me. The human with snacks. There’s been one who when I unpack is there. I’m sure it’s the same one as s/he has white feathers just under their wing.White WingBeach PigeonsBeach PigeonsBeach PigeonsIMG_8071Beach pigeonsBeach pigeonsBeach pigeons

As beach season winds down, the beach pigeon crew who’ve had it good for months on left over crisps, bread crumbs, sunflower seeds suddenly are with a lesser snack source. Maybe it’s my imagination, maybe they know I’m the one who has snacks, maybe they’re just there when I’m there (most logical), but they swoop in. White Wing the past 2 days was there even before I’d settled down. 3 cookies Monday and half my trail mix yesterday and what seemed like 15 pigeons circling me for snacks. Hungry little b*ggers! So hungry a few brave came about 30 cm away gingerly picking up cookie crumbs. Yesterday while my attention was on the main crowd, one cheeky brave pigeon as I reached for more trail mix was on my sarong gingerly pecking raisins I’d dropped. I don’t mind. I feel honoured they feel they can get that close. I’m wondering where their winter hang out is or do I have to stop by everyday with cookies?!

Aftermath. Nothing but pigeon claw prints!Pigeon claw prints

This lady however is the ultimate feed the wildlife lady. I feed pigeons, she feeds iguanas!Lady feeding iguanas

Shoo away birds, or give them leftovers?

Lady feeding iguana image taken from Google Images