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Assessment of agricultural damage by Ring-necked Parakeets and Egyptian Geese - VC0109

VC0109. Assessment of agricultural damage by ring-necked parakeets and Egyptian geese.

Ring-necked parakeets and Egyptian geese have established self-sustaining populations in the wild in Britain, probably as a result of accidental releases. Recent reports have suggested that populations of the birds are beginning to increase and that they may cause damage to agricultural crops. Current trends suggest that numbers will continue to increase, with possible extension beyond their current geographical ranges, which are currently limited to the Home Counties south of London (parakeets) and East Anglia (Egyptian geese). This study will aim to investigate the possibility that these birds are causing serious damage to crops, the geographical distribution of such damage, the types of crops involved and the potential implications of any further population increases. Farms where ring-necked parakeets and Egyptian geese feed will be identified and information will be sought on the types of crops eaten and any resulting agricultural losses. Literature searches will be conducted, which will include popular items in trade journals. Requests for information will be published in trade journals and circulated among local natural history and birdwatching societies and additional data will be obtained by direct conversations with people who have reported the birds feeding and/or causing damage. The findings of the study will be interpreted in terms of likely trends in crop damage, as a result of the abundance and distribution of the 2 species. It is anticipated that this research will assist government departments with responsibility for licensing actions under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, enabling them to develop guidelines for farmers in advance of potential problems. Farmers will benefit from such prior warnings, which will allow them to grow alternative crops or to prepare management plans enabling damage to be maintained at acceptable levels. Alternatively, the relevant government departments could use the study results to build a case for the elimination of the species from the UK at a comparatively early stage.

Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1995

To: 1996

Cost: £12,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Fields of Study
Wildlife Management