Sixteen foreign birds have gone missing from a backyard aviary in Geraldton, Western Australia and are feared to become a major pest in the wild.
The Indian ringneck parakeets that escaped two weeks ago were originally 20, but only four have been found so far. One of which was recovered in Meru which is almost 10 km away.
According to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development manager Richard Watkins, he is worried that the species could establish a breeding population.
Although the Indian ringneck parakeet is not native to Australia, it posed a significant risk of thriving in the country due to the favourable environment, he said.
Watkins added that the species could negatively impact the country’s agriculture as they can ruin an array of crops. This includes cereals, oilseeds and horticulture as well as stored grains.
The birds competing with native species for nest hollows and food also concerns him.
“With the support of the local community, we hope to locate and remove the escaped birds as soon as possible,” he said.
How to Identify the Missing Birds
The species, about 40cm in length from body to tail, is described as bright green with a red beak and long tail.
Some of them were also yellow, blue, olive and grey.
The narrow black and pink collar of the male birds distinguishes them from female and immature birds.
Moreover, they screech a “kee-ak” call different to native parrots, a distinctive shrill.
For suspected sightings of the birds, please report immediately to the department’s Pest and Disease Information Service on free call 1800 084 881.
Missing birds ‘pose pest risk’ | The West Australian. (2017, August 18).