Many of the parrots escaped, or were released from captivity, and are now prolific in Madrid, as well as number of other areas in Spain. The population of Argentine parrots in Madrid’s parks has risen by 33% in three years, from 9000 in 2016, to 12,000 already accounted for in 2019, according to data from the Spanish Society of Ornithology.
In 2005, there were an estimated 1,700 of the birds in Madrid.
As the population grows, so do the problems. The birds, considered an invasive species in Spain, are noisy, messy, and are certainly ruffling the feathers of local residents, who have already filed 197 complaints about the birds this year, and 209 in 2018.
The birds also build nests which can reach up to 200 kilograms (441 lb), which could pose a threat to Madrid’s citizens if they were to fall, authorities said.
The parakeets are also thought to threaten biodiversity in the city by competing for food, and damaging vegetation while building their nests.
Though no cases have been confirmed, the council warned that the birds could pose a danger to human health, as they could transmit bird flu, salmonella poisoning or psittacosis (parrot fever).
Santiago Soria, head of the council’s Biodiversity and Inventory Service, said that the objective was not to eliminate the whole parrot population, but explained that without intervention it would continue to grow.
“The spirit of the law is to do no damage to our wildlife,” Soria told media.
CNN’s Hannah Strange and Laura Perez Maestro contributed to this report.