"It's just a parakeet" is an expression I hear to often and yet is so untrue. Budgerigars, often referred to simply as parakeets, are the most underrated of parrot species. I would like to share some of the experiences I had with one and provide some tips to owners of these wonderful birds. If you don't remember, I had a Dark Eyed Clear mutation Budgerigar named Duke who was a wonderful trick performer. Unfortunately he died young so I never learned his true potential. Still I would like to share some of what I learned about parakeets with you.
While the Melopsittacus undulatus is the most commonly kept companion parrot, it is also the most underrated and misunderstood. From name, to diet, to capabilities, owners are clueless. This of course is not surprising considering the ways in which these miniscule parrots come to be owned. Some are bought window shopping, others as gifts, many as toys for children, others found, a few taken off someone's hands who no longer wants them, etc. Whatever the means that budgies are acquired, it is usually so easy that they are often seen as cheap, incapable, and unimportant pets. When people spend thousands of dollars on a parrot, they have some kind of commitment to the bird in that they were at least serious enough to put that kind of money on the line. However, with a $10 budgie, the cage it inhabits often costs 5-10 times as much as the bird itself! Unfortunately many people see these birds as expendable.
Budgerigars are easy to breed and can be cranked out in all sorts of color mutations. When choosing a parakeet, most people are more concerned with the color than its suitability as a pet. All too often people buy these parrots for children as a pet for them to have while growing up without any concern for the complexity of the creature or its longevity.
Despite their low price tag or reputation, Budgies are more alike their big parrot cousins than different. They share the same characteristics but in a smaller size. They have the same characteristic zygodactyl feet, hook bill, vocalization capabilities, and atypical bird intelligence as do larger parrots. While parakeets are not the smartest of parrots, they are leaps and bounds ahead of your typical song bird, rodents, and other animals of their size. Heck, don't be surprised if the worthless little parakeet is more intelligent than your cat/dog! Scientific studies continue to find greater cognitive capabilities in Psittacines than ever imagined.
Don't forget that budgies are birds and birds fly! Even a budgie with clipped wings will try to fly away so it is important to use positive reinforcement to make the parakeet want to be around you instead of relying on clipping. Budgies are speedy fliers and require flight to feel secure and healthy. Using a target stick, millet, and some patience, you can teach a budgie to fly to you.
There is way too much confusion about what these birds are called. It is really quite simple though so I will state the correct name. It is called a Budgerigar, Budgie for short. It is one of many kinds of parakeets but not specifically called Parakeet. Parakeets include all small long tailed parrots such as conures, cockatiels, and ring necks. Finally, Budgerigars are true parrots and in fact more closely related to a Macaw than a Cockatiel. So there you have it, Budgerigar is the exact species, Parakeet the category, and Parrot the family of these remarkable little birds.
So if you have a budgie, don't value it based on the price you've paid but on its abilities. Don't assume it can't do something cause it's a cheap bird but instead challenge it and you'll be surprised by what it can do. You will realize that you got the best price to capability ratio parrot in existence!
If you don't have a budgerigar but are considering one, please give it the respect it deserves as a parrot and not for its price. Evaluate this species as you would any larger parrot and realize that this is a serious lifelong commitment. They may be small, but they can be similarly difficult like other parrot species. If you do buy one, make sure you spend adequate money on toys, perches, food, vet, and supplies and not treat it any lesser because the bird was cheap. Just consider yourself lucky to get such a deal on such a wonderful pet.
Share this picture and page with everyone you know who owns budgies or parrots so together we could spread awareness and respect for these wonderful little parrots! http://TrainedParrot.com/Parakeet
I have two Budgies, one Cockatiel, one Peach Faced Lovebird and one Black Capped Conure. My Budgies hold their own in the flock and are very precious and entertaining. Each of these species has different characteristics which makes our little flock quite a lot of fun. One thing I discovered though is that when I only had one Budgie he was always trying to befriend the other guys which they didn't want. Johnny wasn't truly happy until he had a Budgie friend, so I got him Buddy. My other guys don't seem to need a cage companion as they prefer me. Yet Johnny still likes to be with me even though he now has Buddy. The Budgies are in a large flight cage and love it, but they get to roam the house with supervision every day as do the other guys.
I am so glad you discussed this problem of the Budgie industry and inadequately trained backyard breeders, because as you mention too many people think because they are little and cheap they don't need to be respected. When I tried to look for a Budgie to get as a friend for Johnny, I searched our local Parrot rescue, Craigs List and want ads hoping to rescue one who needed to be re-homed, but no Budgie was available at any age! I then bought a baby from a clean, well organized small local pet shop, but no one asked me any questions or wanted to know if I knew what to do or feed etc. It's so sad that because they are so small and easily dominated that those that are neglected just waste away and die young in their owners cage instead of being given up to a rescue organization
But, if you own one and interact with it and meet its needs, you will be more than entertained and loved. My flock have a Godfather that will take them if I pass over the rainbow bridge before them. Bigger is not better....it's just different (and maybe a little more intimidating or messy depending on the circumstances).
Have a tweet day,
My father had Hodgkins Liphoma. Toward the end he basically sat in his recliner and watched TV.
I bought 2 budgies. This is back in 1980 and I really did not know much about them and did not even work with them. My father talked to them all the time. They made all kinds of noises to him.
One day he was ignoring them to watch TV and one threw a sunflower seed at him. Of course that got his attention. From then on he was the goaly and they threw their hocky puck sunflower seeds at him. It always made him laugh.
the i had was a great companion for my who mourned when he passed.they had alot of fun flying around together i had no idea my would enjoy having another bird around until this little guy was dumped off at my house.too many times i've seen ads for people wanting to get rid of them to "upgrade"to a larger parrot.
Very well said Michael, budgies seem to be awesome parrots ! Along with parrolets its definately a species I would consider doing a rescue of if I had the space available. Smaller parrots are worth as much as big, and deserve as much care and love.
Its very unfortunate that so many of them end up "thrown away" .
Completely right. So true.
I have yelled at people who thought that budgies were 'just a parakeet'.
I told them I had budgies, and they said "What?"
"A type of parakeet."
"Oh, just a parakeet."
And that's when I start scaring them off.
I love this post, I'm sharing it with my friends.
My first pet (when I was about 7), which was a budgie, was so attached to me I didn't really have to teach it to fly to me, if I left the room and he was out, the next thing I knew was that he was on my head or shoulder. They really are wonderfully intelligent birds, great for your money's worth, and incredibly misunderstood. There are very few animals on this planet that are 'dumb', the majority, i would say, are trainable in their own way (which doesn't mean they should/need to be trained) and very intelligent.
We tend to think of animals intelligence by their size or beauty. An African grey would get a lot of respect because they are large and striking and have a very intense way about them, but a budgie who is little and cute and charming is seen as dumb and expendable in some cases. Its the same with dog behaviour (my speciality!); we humanize the dogs that are little and cute and don't see them as dogs with dog's needs, but large dogs are mostly thought of as dogs who either, depending on the person viewing, are aggressive and smelly or beautiful and intelligent and need to be exercised, disciplined, etc. People have a very distorted way of viewing animals.