Friday, December 30, 2011

Mom and Daughter

Photo © court the dork

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Budgerigar Totem

In modern times, some people have chosen to adopt a personal spirit animal helper, which has special meaning to them. These helpers are called totems. In Belgium, it's quite common to receive a totem when you join a Scouting group. I never did so, but if I had a totem, I think it might be a budgerigar :-)

Image © Ravenari

Budgerigar - Chatterbox

Keywords that connect you to this totem:

Travelling, going where nourishment is found, following the omens and movements of birds, chatterbox, gossip, everyday beauty, great resources of inner strength, responding to colour and light therapy, words have great meaning, be careful what you say, choose words carefully.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I almost wish I was one of them

They look so warm and cozy! I'm freezing my ass off here in the living room! :d

Image © *raptiye

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas holidays 2011

Image © Zazzle

It's that time of the year again! I decided to take a week off from work and enjoy some cozy time together with Erlend and our budgies. I will reappear around December 27, with new budgie facts and much more! As my heart goes out to people who show great respect for birds, I already want to wish all budgie fans a merry Christmas and a wonderful 2012! Pamper your little birdies and keep them out of the cold!

All the best,
Bika and Erlend

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Need to say more?

Budgies are always curious about something, that's one of the cutest things about them :)

Photo © scopezor on deviantART

Digital drawing of a budgie

Here's a digital drawing of a blue budgie. It's so gorgeous! I wish I could draw like that...

Image © athenatt on deviantART

Monday, December 12, 2011

How many budgies in one cage?

Erlend and I have been discussing this subject more than once. The measurements of our cage are: 48 x 30 x 49 cm, so there's not that much room.

Still, it's a quality cage because all the bars are horizontal (which is good for the budgies' feet) and there's more horizontal than vertical space (which is good because budgies fly horizontally, not vertically). The budgies get a few hours of free flight per day, so they mostly use the cage for sleeping and eating. I could perhaps put an extra perch in the lower part of the cage, to provide room for 1-2 more budgies.

Photo ©
Taking all these things into consideration, I think that our cage would hold maximum five budgerigars.
I want to give Isla the chance to breed once she's ready for it, so maybe we will need a bigger cage. But for now, let's try with the one we have.

You have to have a good look in the pet store if you want a decent cage. Avoid cages that look tall and that have a lot of vertical bars. I'm not saying that the cage in the picture above is a bad cage, but in fact, it's just as roomy as my cage, because it's the horizontal space that counts. On top of that, the vertical bars make it difficult for them to climb.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blue budgies and Japanese cars

First recorded appearance of the blue budgerigar mutation

Photo © spookybear

The blue budgerigar made its first recorded appearance in 1878. The budgerigars are said to be owned by a certain M. Limbosch in a suburb of Brussels, Belgium. Barely 3 years later, this strain died out and blue budgies seemed to have disappeared from our world. A few years later, some blue budgies occasionally occurred in Dutch aviaries. This was still a very rare thing to happen.

The first blue budgies to be seen in England were a couple exhibited by Messrs Millsum and Pauwels at the Horticultural Hall in 1910 and the Crystal Palace in 1911.

Expensive rarity

Blue budgies remained a rarity until the 1930s. People in Japan were prepared to pay £100 for blue budgies, which is about the cost of a car at that time!

Photo © theresanupsideofdown

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Image © redbubble
This picture was made for a certain "Bailey", who likes budgies. I'm sure all budgie fans like this picture, too!

For those who like a little challenge: can you count the total number of budgies hidden here? ;)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Old, crazy budgie advertisements

I had a look through the Advertising Archives, after I found this picture online:

Photo © The Advertising Archives

I mean, that is so scary. The title "Love alone is not enough!" makes it even worse. This was French's Bird Seed Magazine Advert from 1950, shown all around the USA. I have an even older one.

Photo © The Advertising Archives

This is the cover of the Saturday Evening Post Magazine from July 31, 1915. Remember that the first budgies were only bred after the 1850's, so budgerigars were still considered a bit of a "rare luxiority" in the United States. Also pay attention to the colour of the budgie. Blue budgies were still extremely rare at the end of the 19th century. What bothers me a bit here, is that people knew little to nothing about budgerigars back then and the birds were often given as a gift to girls or women, who started neglecting the birds as soon as they lost interest in them.

Photo © The Advertising Archives

The last one is from the 1960s. It's an advertisement for Caperns bird seed, something well known at that time. Capern's even recorded some commercials with the famous budgerigar Sparkie Williams.

Photo © Cold War Warrior on Flickr
Photo © combomphotos on Flickr
 OMG, super budgie cards!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How do I get my budgie to take a bath?

Believe it or not, but some budgies just don't like to bathe as much as others. It's a matter of personal taste. Some budgies - especially the young ones from the pet stores - have never seen any other budgie doing it and they have never had the opportunity to try it out themselves. Sadly, this is the case with my Frodo and Isla.
I offered them a bath the other day, and even though they were both very curious about it, they thought it was only for drinking. They must've thought: "why on Earth don't we get a food tray of this size?"

After a while, I thought that Frodo was beginning to see the fun in it. He dipped his head in the water and shook his feathers. Then, he put a foot in there. Then, Isla came to chase him off because she wants everything that he wants. Isla only drank a bit from the water and then flew off again. So much for bathing that day.

Image © chorp on tumblr

I believe it's a matter of patience. It's not a big deal if they don't want to bathe, because budgies can still keep their feathers clean and neat when they preen. If you want to, you could try to use a soft plant spray, as long as it has never had any chemicals in it. If your budgie doesn't like it, he will try to get away and keep his wings tight over his feathers. The important thing is not to force them. If you make your budgies wet against their will too often, they may start to hate you for it.

But don't worry: it's part of their instinct to take baths. Domesticated budgies just need some time to see the use of it. So no rush. I'm just going to put the bath there again next time and maybe they will try again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Budgerigar 2012 Wall Calendar

If you're still looking for a Christmas present, or if you're a big budgie fan yourself, you can buy yourself a budgerigar calendar for next year.

The calendar was made by Avonside Publishing and is available on, both for domestic and international delivery.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Budgie of the month: Fatty!

Fatty is a blue budgerigar who belongs to a girl with the artist name IrishAppleTree. I decided to make him budgie of the month, because he's so cute and ... cuddly. And I have a soft spot for blue budgies. Now I wonder: is this budgie really bigger than the others or is it the angle of the camera doing it? :)

Here's a recent picture that I took when Isla was looking straight into the camera. It makes her look a little bit like Fatty too!

All pictures, except the last one are © to IrishAppleTree. Please visit her tumblr for more pictures!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New poll: room for improvement

Hi everybody!

As some of you may know, I'm planning to add some extra features to my blog soon. This time, I'm moving the ball into your camp. What would you like to see more of in the future? It's a multiple choice poll, so you have the option to pick more than one answer :)

Image © juststfubro
Have fun!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turtle Transport

Because it's one of the cutest things I've seen today.

There's a little surprise at the end! :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Garlic and Yoghurt

No, these are not new budgie names! :)

A week ago, our little Isla got sick for the first time. I noticed she was regurgitating a lot, but soon enough I saw that the "regurgitating" was actually more like "retching fits". At some point, she vomited once, but that was enough for me to go crazy. I started searching through my budgie books: could it be a crop infection? Psittacosis? Simply indigestion?

Image © toucanjam
I called the local veterinary and he came to our place to have a closer look at our bird. Isla doesn't like to be held, so she really bit his finger hard. The vet said that she had a few symptoms of Psittacosis, which made me go "aaaargh" and "noooo" but of course it's way too early to draw any conclusions. He added that it's more likely that Isla has some kind of infection in her crop, which often leads to retching.

So now they've been on antibiotics for a week - that's right, Frodo as well, because he has been taking such good care of Isla that he might be carrying the same disease now - and I can really tell there's a difference. Isla is living up again, she's getting more chatty and active than before. Frodo doesn't seem to be ill at all. He's too busy chasing Isla all the time!
Other than that, the vet gave me some tips that I never heard or read about before. But I can assure you it helps!
  • mix a tiny bit of crushed garlic with the bird seed, and add a coffee spoon of yoghurt to each food tray. Make sure you get a nice, not too thick mix, so your budgies can still peck at the seeds.
As a result, you will get a nice, simple yet very healthy mix for your budgies. My budgies have been eating from it for a week now and they seem to really like it.
  • I already mentioned apple cider vinegar before. The vet also mentioned it to me. A few drops a day in the drinking water should be plenty and it's very good for your budgies!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Poll results: how old are your budgies?

The results show that a lot of people own young budgies. In pet stores, the demand for "nest-leavers" is high. People can't resist the sweet babyface of a 5-month old budgie, and they often make the mistake of only buying one of them. Another fact is that budgies don't often get older than 10-15 years. You buy a budgerigar, knowing that you want to spend as much time with your bird as possible. This is all perfectly understandable; I also bought two budgies that were between 4 - 8 months old. I figure that this is as young as they're allowed to be sold in a pet store.
My point with this poll is that I want to encourage more people to choose for older budgies. Try for once to ignore what they say in all the budgie books: "pick a budgerigar that looks young, healthy, with shiny feathers" and so on. Rather think of this: pick the weakest or the oldest budgie you see. Turn things around for once and if your intentions are good, you will probably give that budgerigar the best life he could ever dream of. 
I'm actually planning to start doing this, as soon as my husband allows me to have another, bigger cage!

Image © Wikipedia
I also wanted to see if there are actually people who own any budgies that are older than 15 years - which is very old for a budgerigar! As I'd expected, there aren't many, but those 12 people who voted deserve a major thumbs-up! Keep up the good work! :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New pictures of Frodo and Isla

In the first picture, Frodo and Isla have been with us for nearly two weeks. You can tell that they're getting comfortable. In the last picture, which was taken this morning, they are confident enough to fly to my hand. They're amazing little birds!
I've decided to take a break after this post, mainly because things are getting busier at work, and I also need a bit of time to polish up my blog. If all goes well, I should be done by December 1st. Take good care of your birds and see you soon!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Budgerigar poster

This was the first budgerigar poster I ever had. I was about 8 years old, I think ^^

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sense of rhythm

According to a Japanese study, budgerigars have the ability to peck in time with a rhythm. The discovery was made by a team including members of the Japan Science and Technology Agency and the University of Tokyo.

The ability to tap in time with a rhythm has been found in only a few species besides humans, including elephants and parrots.

Photo © dudeofthedead
The team trained eight budgerigars to peck in time with beeps and flashing LED lights, by giving them food if they managed to successfully peck at various speeds six times in a row. Later, when the intervals between each beat were set at six lengths ranging between 0.45 and 1.8 seconds, the budgies were able to peck in time with the rhythms after several attempts.

In the experiments, the birds often tapped slightly before the beep and flashing light, indicating that they could predict the intervals between the flashes.

Imitating sound made by others is deeply connected with language acquisition. The fact that budgerigars, which can imitate human speech, have a sense of rhythm is viewed by researchers as strong evidence that there is a connection between language acquisition and a sense of rhythm.

"We want to see if budgies can start dancing to music like humans do," said Yoshimasa Seki, a researcher at the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

Imagine that! ^_^

Artice © The Mainichi Daily News
Click here to view the original Japanese story.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's been a heavy week for everyone...

Budgie Cookie falling asleep on his owner's hand...

Remember to change your clock this weekend... you and your budgies can sleep in on Sunday! ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Wheatley being Wheatley"

Photo © pirpintine
Budgies are true acrobats. Did you know they're also good at climbing?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Found an escaped budgie?

When you find an escaped budgie, the first thing you have to do is to stay calm. Wrong decisions are easily made in exciting or stressful situations. You have to know that you are at this moment probably the only one who can save the life of the lost bird.

Photo © fairy-wren
Below you can find a list of things you should or should not do:
  • very important: do not bring your own budgies in contact with the lost budgie. You don't know where the budgie came from. It might have been infected with diseases, so first it needs to be seen by a vet. Even if the bird looks completely healthy, you shouldn't take the chance. Some diseases are strong enough to root out a whole flock of birds, and when you notice they're sick, it's often too late.
  • give the poor bird food and water. Lost budgies are often unable to find any food or water because they are only driven forward by panic until they are too exhausted to fly.
  • observe the budgie: does it behave or smell strangely? Is it wounded? Is there anything abnormal about the plumage around the vent (wet, sticky feathers or parasites?). You could inspect the bird's droppings if you get the chance. Diarrhoea for example is very dangerous for budgies.
  • Remember that budgies will try to behave at their best when they are in the wild. They do this to show any possible predator that they are strong, even though they feel bad.
  • If you are able to catch the bird, or pick it up, you should take it to the veterinary. Take some notes about the budgie's behaviour, any details that can be useful to the vet.
After the budgie has been checked by the veterinary, you might want to check for ads in the paper or on the internet about escaped budgies. If you choose to place an ad yourself, you should also do it online, because I think this is the best way for people to find out these days. Budgies are excellent flyers and they can cover long distances in a short time, so it won't suffice to put up a notice with "Budgie found" on the bulletin board from the local supermarket.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bird dance

... aren't budgies just awesome? ^_^

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Budgie Figurines (2)

Remember these budgie figurines I posted a while ago?

Now I found even cuter ones :D

All images are © okameinko,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Leaves or wild budgies?

Photo © Paul Ross
As you can see, their feathers make them look like they're part of the tree. Anyone could think it's just the reflection of the sunlight on the leaves. Clever budgies!

Monday, October 10, 2011

No means what?

Haha, this reminds me so much of my budgies! Thanks to meta (mathew) for creating this great comic.

Click on the comic to view full size.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nest boxes for budgies

Building nest boxes for budgies is not common, as there are many commercially available nest boxes, such as a small wicker nest, a covered nest and a wooden box nest.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Budgies talk back

Photo © snollygosters
One of the reasons why budgies make great pets, is because they talk back to you. If you take the time to talk and communicate with your budgerigar, you will soon find your feathered friend chatting back to you. If you have a good bond with your budgies, you will notice that they can be really attentive, because they're so eager to learn your language!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bless you!

It's that time of the year again: cold and flu season has arrived in Belgium! Alas, I'm one of the unlucky ones.

Budgies are more vulnerable to cold and flu bugs than humans. Budgies can seriously suffer from what humans describe as a simple cold. Be extra careful when you have the flu, that can actually kill them when they are left untreated, or when their resistance is low.

Photo © imarocket-man

Stop your sniffling! How do I protect my budgies?

Rule 1: give them the right food

Let them eat their way to health during the Winter, with the right food and supplements
  • brocolli and oranges strengthens their immune system
  • a mineral block is also high on the list
  • millet is also an immune-boosting snack. Use it wisely and don't overfeed them!
  • daily vitamin supply to drinking water

Rule 2: keep your hand in front of your mouth

If possible, ask a healthy person to take care of the budgies for you. A veterinary once told me that a lot of budgies catch an illness through hand contact from humans. In any case, you always have to wash your hands with antibacterial soap before you handle the budgies. It's a good habit and reduces the chances of passing on your germs to the birds. Also keep your hand in front of your mouth if you have a cold, don't come too close to them unless you have to (don't touch them with your mouth) and don't sneeze or cough on them!

I know it's tough to keep a distance from your birds, but you have to do it for their sake. 

Photo © throughmycameraseyes

Rule 3: warm, cozy home

Budgies hate to be in a cold, moist climate. They thrive much better in warm and dry places. That's why I recommend you to keep them in a sufficiently warm room during day and night. You can also buy an Avian Sun, which is a lot like a UV-lamp, but for birds. It partially makes up for the absence of sunlight and vitamin D during the Winter.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Do female budgies sing?

Just like male budgies, female budgies do dance, sing and bond with their mate. My Isla sometimes sings in the evening, when she's relaxed. Female budgies sing less than males, but their songs are no less important. In fact, songs mean a lot to budgies. It's part of how they communicate, part of their history and part of who they are.

Photo © sakurabana
A little love lesson for all male budgies: a female budgerigar is likely to choose a mate that sounds a little bit like herself. Go on and impress them! :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

When are budgies ready to breed? (2)

When budgies are older than one year, it is considered safe for them to become parents. Apart from knowing their age, you should also keep a close eye on their health.

Food regurgitation is a part of the mating ritual among budgerigars. Image ©
In order to have a successful first nest, both the father and the mother bird need to be in tip top health. You have to make sure that there are none of the most common signs of illness:
  • sitting puffed up continually
  • discharge present on feathers above nostrils
  • lethargy, quietness, listlessness
  • vomiting or diarrhoea
  • inability to balance
  • accumulated poop on vent feathers
  • itching all over, scaly face or legs; this may indicate mites
Female budgie in breeding condition. Photo © the Talk Budgies forum
If you're not completely sure, you can still take the birds to your vet to get a checkup.When both of your budgies are perfectly healthy, the breeding conditions are already favourable. There also has to be a strong bond between both budgies (not all budgies like each other!). Last but not least, you can sometimes tell from your budgies' ceres when they are in breeding condition. Females will mostly have a dark brown cere (or turning brown) while the males will have an even to deep blue cere.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Budgie Body Language (8)

Why is my budgie constantly yawning?

Photo © Heidi DS on Flickr
Frodo got me scared for a moment tonight. I noticed he was yawning, not once, not twice, but he just kept on yawning!

When a budgie yawns, you'll see his little beak open up wide, his neck stretch and his eyes close. Budgies usually yawn when they get sleepy, right before their nap or bed time. When your budgie yawns repeatedly, it could indicate one of the following things:
  • lack of oxygen
  • they need to get something loose, like when you are popping your ears
  • they need to adjust their crop, because some of the seeds didn't go down properly
  • there could be something stuck in their throat, like a seed shell or a small feather (nothing dangerous)
By the time I finished reading this online, Frodo had stopped yawning. We always ventilate our appartment well, so it couldn't have been a lack of oxygen in the room. I was so scared Frodo was choking on something, even though he looked very relaxed. So my guess is that he was doing one of the other things.

In extreme cases (if your budgie really doesn't stop yawning, or if he seems to be choking), don't hesitate to call the vet immediately, or just take the car and drive there! Budgies are in many ways like little children, they can't tell you what's wrong. That's why you always have to keep an extra pair of eyes on them.

Previous posts in this series:
Body Language of a sleeping budgie
Body Language of a preening budgie (Budgie Body Language 1)
Budgie Body Language (2)
Budgie Body Language (3)

Budgie Body Language (4)  
Budgie Body Language (5) 
Budgie Body Language (6)
Budgie Body Language (7)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Indian Summer

What's the weather like in your country?

We're having great weather for the time of the year, so I decided to let the budgies sunbathe a little bit as well. They were very excited outside, but they really enjoyed being there. Don't forget that vitamin D3 (what you get from the sunlight) is very good for them!