Falcons feasted on more parakeets during London lockdown instead of usual pigeon diet

The study into the eating habits of predatory birds was carried out by King's College London Credit: PA/UnSplash/Mathew Schwartz

Hungry falcons had to change their diet during lockdown in London and feast on parakeets instead of pigeons.

A study showed how the traditional food supply for predatory birds began to dry up as people were told to stay home, meaning less discarded food waste or direct feeding.

The study by King's College London used online live streams to monitor peregrine falcon nests over the course of three breeding seasons, the first of which took place during pandemic restrictions.

Brandon Mak, a PhD student in the Department of Geography who co-led the study with Ed Drewitt from the University of Bristol, said: "Our results indicate that peregrines in larger, highly urbanised cities like London may be more dependent on, and hence more vulnerable to changes in, human activities which support their prey populations, particularly feral pigeons."

Figures revealed how in London, peregrines took a lower proportion of pigeons as prey, down 15%, and replaced them with starlings up 7% and parakeets up 3%.

In other UK cities, pigeons remained the dominant prey.

"The world is still learning about the consequences of lockdowns on wildlife, which promises to shed light on how human and animal lives are linked in our shared environments," Brandon Mak added.

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