Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Australia: Homeland of Budgies (3)

The Australian Outback is usually very hot and very dry. And full of predators.
But budgies have lived there so long, that they've worked out their own ways to deal with this.

One example is that they can go a long time without water. In the meantime, their bodies get water from the food they eat, which consists mainly of grass seeds.

Budgies in the wild mainly feed on grass seeds, eucalypt leaves, buds, bark and other greens.

Wild Millet

"Spinifex, Mitchell's and Tussock grasses are also part of the natural diet of the wild budgerigars. Sometimes they also eat wheat from the farmer's fields and some wild millet, see photo on the right. In the early morning the birds are gathering in huge flocks (sometimes a few hundreds to thousands of individuals) and they are drinking dew or taking a bath in the dewdrops which got stuck on the leaves of the grasses. To get nourishing food the budgerigars have to travel long distances. Their feeding grounds are often situated more than 50 kilometres away from their breeding areas. As there is a very hot and dry climate, the budgerigars migrate across open plains (the so-called outback) and look for place where some fresh green tufts carry half-ripe seeds after a rainfall. There is only little precipitation in most parts of the Australian continent and therefore the feedings grounds are widespread over the country. The birds needed to adapt to these hard environmental conditions; that's why the budgerigars lead their lives as nomadic birds.


This nomadic way of life is also a survival trick. The budgies gather in small flocks, looking for nice food places. When they've gobbled up all they could find in one of these food places, they move on to the next, and so on.
Sometimes the weather conditions are extremely bad, causing the grass and greens to wither away. Then the budgies have to be strong together - they join other flocks and roam far and wide, scanning every area in search of food and water. Sometimes people spot flocks of over many thousand budgies crossing the Australian outback. It leaves them flabbergasted.
Even more breathtaking is the fact that they travel for hundreds of miles on their mission for food and water. Some of the budgies will die on this journey, because they don't find enough to eat - droughts like this give budgies an extra hard time - but the others survive and keep searching... until they find a place where the rains have come.
Rain means that nature comes back to life, it means that the grass starts growing again, providing new seeds for the budgies.
Once the budgies have found this, everything is perfect to start making new budgies!

Information (c),
Picture of two budgies (c)