Precious Roman Parakeets

Sitting on my balcony this morning, something scared the living bejaysus out of me. That thing was an interrupting Roman parakeet.

After the torrential thunderstorm that occurred all last night and into the early hours of this morning, I was sitting on my balcony in my usual fashion; in a pair of fluffy pink slippers and f-ugly PJs. With a glass of peach & mango juice in hand, I was minding my own business when a speedy bright green bullet of a thing shot right past my face.

If the reader knows me at all, they will know that I internalise absolutely all high-emotion, instead, offering up a face of entire discontent and boredom. This occasion was no different, but internally, please do know, I was screaming in terror.

After mentally gathering myself together, I looked to find the cheeky beggar who just scared the lights out of me.

It was this little f*cker:

‘parakeet’ by Heather Smithers on Flickr

Well, not this EXACT parakeet. My little devious devil flew past me to a neighbouring tree and camouflaged himself just enough for me to be able to see him, but not to be able to take a clear photo. I know this because I desperately attempted to do so while telling my dear nature-enthused friend, Connor, about the existence of ‘BRIGHT GREEN BIRDS’ here in Rome. It hadn’t occurred to me to Google what EXACT kind of green bird it was. I just guessed a parrot and moved on with my day.

Possibly this was because Facebook and Instagram FINALLY came back online after a half-day outage. Being by yourself in a foreign country without social media was deeply boring. I had to face up to my possible social media addiction this morning, as I trailed through countless friends’ stories I had missed, learning nothing at all and remembering nothing in particular.

Eventually, it occurred to me that this little green bird might be something worth discovering, and so, HERE WE ARE.

The Roman Parakeets

The sad thing about these birds is that they, of course, are not supposed to be here. The two species of parakeet, the rose-ringed parakeet and the monk parakeet, are originally from Asia and South America respectively. However, because of human’s being dumb-ass humans and inadequately housing or releasing these birds in the late 20th-century, they came to form colonies all around the parks of Rome. They are two of few examples of bird species which have successfully adapted to an urban environment. This is probably due to even more dumb-ass human behaviour encouraging the climate to become more and more tropical in Rome. You can imagine that this will have a longterm effect on the pre-existing ecosystem, however, I can’t find much online to back me on this one other than some vague comments about nest-building space competition and the competition for food. You know, the usual things that cause less-adaptive, more delicate species to go extinct.

Here’s a cheeky video of a Roman parakeet chilling in a tree. The video is not so well-shot but it’s very similar to my attempt earlier this morning. If, by ANY CHANCE, a passerby has a video of me this morning nearly being knocked off my balcony by my shock at seeing one of these, I would more than appreciate getting to watch it.

You can find these birds all over the place, but if you’d like to go on a mad one bird-spotting, you can almost always find them in the Villa Borghese gardens.

Alla prossima,

Ciara O’Síoráin (chi desidera diventare la bella donna figa come gli italiani)

Wanted in Rome

An American in Rome


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