Parrot spotted outside Sunderland church is now wild to the city, wildlife experts say

A Sunderland professor spotted a parrot enjoying a snack outside a church in the city and wildlife organisations have confirmed that they are common in cities.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 6:00 am
The parrot was spotted by Peter Rushton. Photo: Prof. Peter Rushton

At around 11.20am on Thursday, October 31, Prof. Peter Rushton, a sociology professor at the University of Sunderland spotted a blue-grey parrot in the churchyard of St Peter's and the University car park.

Peter had thought he had seen it a couple of weeks ago but this time, he managed to capture the creature on his camera.

He said: “It was absolutely extraordinary. It was eating away at the round haws which are bright orange, fantastic looking things this time of year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The parrot balanced on one leg. Photo: Prof. Peter Rushton

“It sat on one leg with its claws on a branch using the other leg to eat the haws on the branches of the trees. It was really concentrated on its food.”

Peter described the bird as being the size of a magpie with a long tail with a distinctive noise.

He added: “With the seals and dolphins we have been spotting in the area it seems Sunderland is becoming more exotic.”

Wildlife organisations have looked at the photos to confirm the origin of this parrot.

A spokeswoman for the RSPB Wildlife Team said: “It looks to us like this parrot is a ring necked parakeet which is a naturalised bird. They are a wild bird that should be left wild. It seems perfectly happy.

“In the UK they are becoming a more common species in cities.”

A spokesperson for Durham Wildlife Trust agreed: “The picture appears to be a rose ringed parakeet. They are usually green but a blue form is known. This bird could be an escaped pet or part of the naturalised population that began breeding in the wild after birds escaped from captivity.

“The population in the wild is very much centred on London and the south east, but Durham Wildlife Trust has had reports of parakeets in the Hartlepool area in the past.

“The colour and location could mean that this bird is more likely an escaped pet, but from the image it appears to be feeding and these birds are happy in our climate so there’s no need to take any action.”