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Parakeets from Wiesbaden are spreading in the Rhine-Main area – and causing trouble |

They make noise, cause dirt and eat the farmers’ fruit from the trees: green parakeets that are spreading further and further in the Rhine-Main area. Farmers would like the birds to be pushed back – but species protection argues against this.

They are now considered a secret symbol of the city of Wiesbaden: thousands of bright green tropical parrots that can be observed in the trees of the state capital. These are collared and Alexander parakeets that come from Africa and Asia. They have been here since the 1970s – the first of them escaped from zoos. Some city residents have long been annoyed by the exotic animals.

The birds scream loudly, pollute public spaces with their droppings – and also cause more and more problems in agriculture. For example with Ralf Schaab. He runs a farm in Wiesbaden-Erbenheim that includes several thousand fruit trees. He is always annoyed by the damage to his crops caused by the parakeets.

Scarecrows don’t help

“They are hungry and love our beautiful fruit,” says Schaab. “When they appear in swarms, they peck at an entire cherry tree.” You can’t do this with scarecrows or other aids. However, he could not quantify the damage exactly.

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Schaab is of the opinion that the problem with parakeets on farms around Wiesbaden has gotten worse in recent years. “It affects one or the other, depending on where the swarms come and cause their mischief,” reports Schaab.

Birds are spreading in the surrounding area

Oliver Weirich, ornithologist and representative of the Hesse Bird Protection Observatory for Wiesbaden, confirms that the birds are seen more often in rural areas. According to his information, there are around 6,000 free-living parakeets in Hesse – 4,000 of them in Wiesbaden. The population in Wiesbaden city center can apparently no longer grow. “The trend is broad: the birds go to the Rheingau, to Rheinhessen and towards Frankfurt.”

A man in a gray sweater stands between fruit trees.

Farmer Schaab would like the damage caused by the immigrated birds to be systematically recorded – and then something to be done about them. “It doesn’t have to mean shooting live animals.” But you could at least reduce the population – for example by replacing the eggs in nests with dummies, as with city pigeons.

Parakeets are protected species

But taking action against the parakeets is currently impossible. “They are not classified as invasive,” explains Gudrun Appel from the Lower Nature Conservation Authority of the city of Wiesbaden. That’s why they are protected species according to the Federal Nature Conservation Act. “Accordingly, you shouldn’t disturb the birds, you shouldn’t destroy their roost and you shouldn’t kill them without a special reason.”

A woman in a green coat stands in front of a train station building.

The Hesse Ministry of the Environment explains that ring-necked and Alexander parakeets do not endanger local bird species. There are individual cases in which the parakeets occupy breeding grounds of native species. However: “Green woodpeckers, jackdaws, starlings and even blue tits have also been observed successfully defending their nesting holes.” And so far there have been no reports of damage to fruit growing caused by parakeets, according to the ministry.

City wants “good solutions in harmony with animals”

She can understand that people feel disturbed by the birds, says Appel. The city is doing a lot – within the scope of legal possibilities – to keep the nuisance caused by parakeets as low as possible. For example, the places where the birds spend the night would be cleaned more intensively. This is primarily about Bahnhofsplatz and Kaiser-Friedrich-Platz. “We try to find good solutions in harmony with the animals,” emphasizes Appel.

However, if there is “serious damage” to the ecosystem, the species could certainly be classified as invasive, says Appel. Just like fruit farmer Schaab, she thought it would make sense to scientifically record the damage in agriculture and then discuss possible solutions together with the Ministry of the Environment and the State Office for Nature Conservation, Environment and Geology.

Bird rights activists: “The animals can’t do anything about it”

The Wiesbaden bird protection officer Oliver Weirich also has mixed feelings about the exotic birds: “I would like us not to transport alien species to other countries – that is one reason for the extinction of species,” explains the biologist. He can also understand that many people feel disturbed by parakeets. At the same time, it is important for the bird conservationist to emphasize “that the animals are not responsible for the fact that we brought them here.”

A man stands in a park and looks up with binoculars.

Weirich appeals to people to get along with the parakeets – and also to see the positive things about the exotic birds: “You can see how they fly quickly through urban canyons, how skillfully they climb – they are great, fascinating birds!”

Further information

Broadcast: hr- Fernsehen, hessenschau, April 30, 2024, 7:30 p.m

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