DEFRA has confirmed that the UK?s population of South American monk parakeets is to be removed from the wild.

The feral birds have lived in the UK since being released from captivity in the 1990s.

Supporters of a cull point to evidence from the USA, where the bird caused great damage to national infrastructure and crops, and say that similar damage could be caused here if nothing is done to prevent it.

Monk parakeets build huge communal nests, sometimes as big as six feet across, and those built on electricity pylons in the USA have caused power cuts, particularly when the nests become wet from rain.

A DEFRA spokesman said officials would trap the birds or re-home them in aviaries, and shooting could be used as a last resort.

He said: ?Control work is being carried out as part of a DEFRA initiative to counter the potential threat monk parakeets pose to critical national infrastructure, crops and native British wildlife.?

?This invasive species has caused significant damage in other countries through nesting and feeding activity and we are taking action now to prevent this happening in the UK.?

There are thought to be only around 100 of the birds currently living wild in the UK, mainly in the Home Counties.

However, according to DEFRA, numbers of the bird, which survives easily in cities and across a range of climates, could rise dramatically over the coming years.

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