Cologne’s parrots are also extremely popular with foreign guests and should not be missing from any holiday photo series. For the city’s inhabitants, however, the animals are often a nuisance. Since 1967, the most common parrot species in the world, the collared parakeet, has been found in the cathedral metropolis. The first birds are said to have escaped from a pet shop, others were probably abandoned by private owners. Meanwhile, about two and a half thousand specimens of the species live in the city. During the day, they fly in swarms through the narrow alleys, parks and shopping streets. Towards evening, the population usually meets for several months in the same roosting trees for a communal night’s rest. And this is where the problem begins! Because the forty-centimetre tall animals with the green plumage and red beak have a lot to talk about after an eventful day and make a deafening noise. In addition, they drive the owners of the outdoor restaurants to despair with the large amounts of excrement they defecate. Some of them have already resorted to firecrackers to protect themselves and their customers from the birds’ nuisance. For a time, the city even employed an ornithologist to develop methods to drive the birds away from places where they were perceived as particularly disturbing.
Cologne’s collared parakeets were the first known parrots in Germany. In the meantime, the colourful animals can also be found in cities such as Brühl, Bonn and Düsseldorf. According to estimates, a total of 4500 collared parakeets live in North Rhine-Westphalia and enjoy the mild climate of the Rhineland, which offers them optimal living conditions.