Invasive birds fought for supremacy over Tokyo skies
A resident of the town of Kawasaki, near Todoroki Rokuchi, tells Shukan Gendai that “around 4 pm, a huge herd of inko, totaling around 2,000, gathered in the park” (December 11-18). “They perch on a large gingko by the tennis court, and their high-pitched chirps are practically loud. It’s horrible.”
(Photo: Angie Bandari)
Inko is smaller than omu (parrots) and is often referred to as “rose-collared parakeets” in English.
Fight for supremacy
The problem of wild parakeets in the Tokyo skies is nothing new: It was first reported in an Audubon Society newsletter in 2014, but the colonies of these birds have recently grown out of control, according to the magazine.
âEven compared to other invasive bird species, a flock of 2,000 is remarkable,â said naturalist Keiichi Hino, âand unless action is taken, they will likely continue to expand their range. “.
The intelligent and aggressive jungle crow remains the monarch of the forest. Shukan Gendai, on the other hand, believes that things are heading for a battle between the two species, which could have an influence on small local birds like sparrows.
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Although Tokyo’s wild parakeets have striking lime-green plumage, they are not to be confused with caged domestic parakeets. For starters, they are much larger, reaching a body length of up to 40 cm. They have a much larger beak and sharper vision than the pet type.
Even adult adults are reluctant to approach them.
They are more common in the southwestern neighborhoods of Tokyo, such as Setagaya, Ota, and Meguro, but have recently expanded their range to include Nerima, Bunkyo, and other more remote neighborhoods.
“Parakeets and crows like similar habitats,” says Shiro Kohshima, professor at Kyoto University’s Wildlife Research Center.
While crows like to rummage through garbage, parakeets prefer fruits and grains, especially growing rice. In India, however, similar breeds consume meat and fish.
Parakeets, native to India and Sri Lanka, were introduced to Japan in the 1960s and 1970s, according to Hino, when demand for exotic birds increased. A boating incident in 1969 resulted in the escape of 100 of the birds, which can live up to 20 years. These are believed to be the origin of the wild herds now invading the Tokyo skies, and they thrived in the absence of natural predators like owls and hawks.
A flock of 150 birds that had settled on the Meguro Ward campus of the Tokyo Institute of Technology quickly grew to around 1,500, and their noise and droppings were considered a serious irritation.
Although it is an invasive species, Japanese wildlife laws protect birds, making them illegal. Professor Kohshima recalled that the birds, which wreak havoc on agriculture in their countries of origin, have been classified as pests and can be exterminated.
“We are not aware of any major damage cases,” he adds, “but when and if it does, Japan should follow suit.”
During a visit to the Tokyo Institute of Technology campus, Kohshima described the “shocking” sight of crows assaulting and eating parakeets.
“I could see the bones and feathers of parakeets that had been cleaned by crows on the roofs of school buildings,” he recalls. “However, the parakeets are fighting back,” Kohshima adds, “I saw several hundred of them team up on an approaching crow.”
Some parakeets, according to Hino, resemble hawks in that they swoop down on their prey from above, diving at speeds of up to 70 km / h.
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