WILD LIFE | 06.07.16

Feral Spirits

These beautiful invasives most likely escaped from pet owners, but now they’re firmly established across the English countryside.

Photograph by Sam Hobson


Ring-necked parakeets are aliens in the English landscape. Escapees from captivity, these Afro-Asian birds have become so numerous in the country’s Southeast region that today they are seen as pests by many residents. Highly social and competitive for resources, they’re known to overwhelm the feeders of bird enthusiasts, and they regularly outcompete native birds for nest cavities. Despite their unfavorable reputation and negative ecological impacts, photographer Sam Hobson wanted to depict the parakeets in a more positive and beautiful light by capturing the spectacle of these brightly colored birds flying in to a roost in the heart of London. He located a large winter roost in an old cemetery and identified the flight paths the birds used most regularly. Then, as dusk fell and the parakeets began to stream past in shrill groups, he set up his camera with a wide-angle lens and long exposure, and then fired the shutter repeatedly. With a burst of flash at the end to capture their ghostly trails, Hobson highlighted the contrast between these otherworldly immigrants and the city they call home.

London, England


ABOUT THE Photographer

Sam Hobson is a wildlife and conservation photographer, best known for his work with urban wildlife. His pictures have been awarded in many competitions, including the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year and he writes a regular photography column for

BBC Wildlife Magazine

. Follow him on Twitter @samhobsonphoto

Sam Hobson




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