Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 11:39 UK

Bird watchers 'tweet' sightings of parakeets in London

A parakeet
There are about 44,000 parakeets living in the UK

Bird lovers are being asked to 'tweet' sightings of an exotic bird in north London on the internet.

Residents in Harrow can post their sightings of parakeets on social networking website Twitter so officials can track where the birds are nesting.

David Corby, from Harrow Council, said there was a "growing colony" of the birds across the borough.

Some 44,000 parakeets live in the UK, with 90% based in London, according to wildlife group Nature England.

'Loud squawk'

Service manager Mr Corby revealed a colony of the exotic birds had lived in the area years ago, but recently he had spotted more of the red-beaked emerald green parakeets.

"They have a loud squawk so when you've heard them once you recognise the noise when you hear it again," he said.

"You can hear them in South Harrow, Hatch End - in fact all across the borough."

The council is hoping to build a record of the habits and population of the birds, which are originally from the Himalayas.

The population of the UK's parakeets has been growing at an estimated rate of 30% a year.

It has been previously suggested that the birds came into the UK after escaping from a container at Heathrow airport during filming of The African Queen in 1951.

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