Parakeets devastate chestnut trees by Hofvijver
Published: 14 February 2013 Modified: 14 February 2013
Ring-necked parakeets have damaged six of the 25 chestnut trees along the Hofvijver so badly that they now need to be cut down.
According to Deputy Mayor Boudewijn Revis (Finance and City Management), the trees have suffered greatly because the birds are pecking away at the buds. It takes a great deal of energy for the trees to make new buds and these are then often eaten as well.
‘The state of the trees has declined rapidly and they are becoming susceptible to diseases,’ explained Revis.
The stately chestnut trees have already been suffering from Horse Chestnut Canker. This disease has attacked tens of thousands of horse chestnut trees in the Netherlands since 2003. In The Hague some 400 chestnut trees have succumbed to the illness. So far no fungicide has been found.
Released in the wild in the 1970s
The ring-necked parakeet is originally from northeast Africa. The birds were kept in aviaries and in the 1970s a number of them escaped or were released in the wild. The largest population in the entire Randstad area lives in The Hague, numbering up to 5,000 birds. They cause a great deal of damage to the branches and buds of chestnut and plane trees.
Large Dutch cities are still discussing what can be done about the problem. Until now the only solution has been to drive them away using tame birds of prey.
The poor state of the trees came to light during an inspection. According to experts, the situation is so serious that the damaged trees are posing a safety risk to the area and need to be cut down as quickly as possible. The six chestnut trees will be replaced by new trees next winter.