Parakeets include about 115 species of birds distributed across South America, Africa, Asia, and Australasia. The common parakeet, also known as aka the budgerigar, is by far the most common of the parakeet species kept as pets. In fact, the parakeet is the third most popular pet after cats and dogs. Parakeets have established populations in many European and North American cities, so can a parakeet survive in the wild?
|Can A Parakeet Survive In The Wild?|
If we are talking about parakeets bred in captivity to be kept as pets, the chances of survival are quite slim. For example, wild parakeets live in Australia, far from even warm regions of the United States, let alone Europe. As such, there are no wild populations of parakeets in Europe, but there are a few in the United States, including on the west coast of Florida.
Considering that there are over 115 species of parakeets spread across multiple continents, they certainly survive in the wild. In fact, parakeets thrive in the wild and have established many strongholds in European and North American cities ranging from San Francisco to South Florida and from London to Berlin. No less than 56 species of parakeets have been spotted across the United States.
Parrots are generally very intelligent and adaptable birds, which is how they have adapted to city life in many cities around the world. Studies show that wild populations of parakeets were once kept as pets before escaping to breed successfully in the wild. There's a lot more to learn - read on to learn more about wild parakeets!
This is an informative article. Nodisk One is not permitted to make a diagnosis or recommend any form of veterinary care. If your pet is in pain or ill, we recommend that you take him to the vet.
Can Escaped Parakeets Survive?
Escaped parakeets have established large populations thousands of miles from where they typically live in the wild. In the United States, some 56 species of parakeets have been spotted by birdwatchers, with strongholds in Texas, California, Arizona, Florida and New York.
Many of these birds were originally kept as pets, have escaped and successfully bred in the wild. Because they are clever and intelligent, parakeets may effectively adapt to a variety of situations, even ones that are very dissimilar to their usual homes. For example, London is now home to more than 50,000 ring-necked parakeets that live in Africa and Asia in the wild. They can even be found in Scotland's Glasgow in the far north!
Interestingly, this is a fairly recent phenomenon, as parakeets were rarely seen in the UK even 50 years ago. There have been many theories about how the parakeets arrived in London, including:
- They escaped from the filming of The African Queen in 1951.
- They escaped from aviaries that the Great Storm of 1987 had wrecked.
- Jimi Hendrix on Carnaby Street brought them out in the 60s.
- They escaped from a pet store in Sunbury in 1970.
However, birders generally believe that many small releases of pet and captive parakeets caused them to establish breeding populations - this could not have been a single event. It should be noted that not all parakeets can survive in the wild. For example, although there are significant populations of parakeets in Florida, they would probably have no hope of surviving in most US states, let alone most of Europe.
Although parakeets are intelligent, they cannot always adapt to their surroundings. As a result, escape parakeets are more likely to survive in warmer urban areas than in colder rural or wild areas that are not well adapted.
How Do Parakeets Survive In The Wild?
Parakeets, like all parrots, are generally very intelligent. There are 115 species of parakeets and hundreds of other parrots, and they live on virtually every continent. This tells you how resourceful parrots are - they can adapt to a variety of habitats.
That said, parakeets certainly prefer warmer tropical and subtropical climates, which is why wild populations dwindle the further north you go. However, as the New York and Glasgow parakeets demonstrate, parakeets are able to adapt to the cold. It is probably more likely that food and shelter play a bigger role in how parakeets survive in the wild than temperature. Parakeets are adaptable feeders but feed almost exclusively on seeds, grains, nuts and fruits.
They also nest in cavities, which means they need woodpecker-like cavities to nest in. As long as parakeets can get enough food, water, and enough nesting sites, they can probably survive, as long as temperatures aren't too low. Again, this does not apply to all parakeets. For example, Rose-ringed Parakeets, Monk Parakeets, and Nanday Parakeets are among the hardiest of parakeets, which is why they are among the most likely to thrive in non-typical habitats. Other non-hardy parakeets are much less likely to survive if they escape.
Do Parakeets Come Back If They Fly Away?
First of all, it depends on the parakeet. Some species of parakeets fly harder than others and can travel for miles before stopping, making the chance of a comeback very slim. However, parakeets are not good flyers and will probably not travel more than a mile or so before having to stop. Will they turn around and come back? In the case of domestic birds that fly too far, probably not. Domesticated parakeets have weak instincts and will likely only survive if they can join a nearby wild flock. The chances of the bird returning are low.
However, someone in the area might spot it - so if your parakeet escapes - keep your ears to the ground for any local sightings. You can also try leaving the bird's cage and food somewhere it can see. It might help the bird to come back if it's not too far away. If you can, follow the bird on foot for as long as possible while calling and offering food. If you've had your bird for a long time and have formed a strong bond, the chances of it returning are likely higher.
How Far Will A Lost Parakeet Fly?
Parakeets don't fly particularly well, but the problem is that an escaped parakeet may get excited by its new surroundings and fly farther and farther. Parakeets are probably the most likely to tire quickly and are unlikely to leave the area immediately. Some may fly to a nearby perch, in which case you can call them and entice them back with treats. Even on foot, it might be possible to pursue the bird.
In the worst case, an escaped parakeet will fly non-stop as far as it can, which can be several miles. In this case, the chances of him returning home alone are very slim, but that doesn't mean you won't find him. Parakeet owners who have lost their birds have found them days, weeks, or even months later. Although not all escaped parakeets can survive in the wild indefinitely, many have a chance of surviving until rescued.
What Should You Do If You Find A Parakeet In The Wild?
If you find a parakeet in the wild, don't automatically assume it's an escaped pet. Instead, check what types of parakeets occur in your area and see if the bird matches. This is especially true if you live in a city or urban area where parakeets are quite common. That said, parakeets are social and live in groups, so seeing a solitary parakeet increases the chances of it being an escapee.
You can try alerting your local police department to see if anyone has reported a lost bird and check local Facebook groups and social media. If you think the bird is injured, try calling a local wildlife hospital for advice. They might suggest that you try to trap the bird safely until help arrives.
Only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, are used by Nodisk One to substantiate the information in our articles.