In lockdown, London falcons switched from eating pigeons to parakeets

Falco peregrinus

According to research, the lockdown forced London's peregrine falcons to consume more parakeets.

According to King's College London, as pigeons fled urban areas during the Covid pandemic, peregrines had to find substitutes.

Researchers came to the conclusion that it was because locals weren't feeding pigeons crumbs.

According to a researcher, lockdown "had an impact on the diets of many birds of prey globally," according to the BBC.

Over three breeding seasons, the researchers studied peregrine diets and reproduction at 31 locations in 27 UK cities using online nest cameras.

The first time frame, from March to June 2020, fell during a lockdown related to COVID-19 that affected all of England.

pigeons in Trafalgar square
Normally, pigeons make up 50% of a peregrine falcon's diet, but during the first Covid-19 lockdown, this percentage fell to 35%.

At this time, pigeons, starlings, and parakeets made up 35%, 36%, and 18% of the diet of peregrine falcons.

Pigeons constituted nearly half of the falcons' diet during the subsequent observational periods.

According to King's College London professor Brandon Mak, peregrine falcons are not picky eaters and will consume any birds they can find.

"During the lockdown, pigeons fled central London because there was less food available, forcing the peregrines to find alternative sources of food.

The peregrine falcons have returned to predominately eating pigeons now that they are back in the city. ".

The world's fastest birds, peregrine falcons, first arrived in the UK in the 1990s, drawn by the country's profusion of pigeons.

With about 40 breeding pairs, London has one of the densest populations of peregrine falcons.

There are worries that an increase in parakeet populations in London is upsetting local wildlife.

The increasing number of ring-necked parakeets and pigeons that may be negatively affecting native wildlife is something that bird conservation organizations are hoping to address with these birds.

The peregrine falcons eating parakeets is a good way to control their population, according to Mr. Mak, who is a proponent of natural biological pest control. ".

The Global Anthropause Raptor Research Network, which examines how lockdowns have affected raptors worldwide, will benefit from the findings of this study.

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