Local press in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, reported last week that efforts to eradicate the bird?s population there were already underway.

Some locals complained that birds were apparently being killed rather than rehomed.

In a letter sent to a local resident from the Food and Environment Research Agency (the Government agency carrying out the work), director of operations Mike Wary clarified that: this is not a trapping and rehoming project.

The aim is to eradicate the feral population of monk parakeets by the most humane method appropriate to individual situations.

A DEFRA spokesman confirmed some of the birds captured in the operation at Borehamwood had been killed.

He said: ?Four birds were trapped and killed. A further five birds were captured alive ? one of these later died due to stress-related trauma, but the other four have been taken into holding facilities with the intention of rehoming them.?

DEFRA says that the control work is necessary because of the ?potential threat? of damage to critical national infrastructure, crops and native British wildlife.

The nest of the monk parakeet can measure up to six feet across, and is often built on electricity pylons and mobile phone masts.

The DEFRA spokesman also confirmed that work is being carried out in other parts of the country.

He said: ?To date, 14 birds have been captured alive in the Isle of Dogs and homes have been found for all of these. Therefore of the total of 23 birds caught to date, 18 will be rehomed.?

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