Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seagull 'bombs' Scottish woman - with a live budgie

From the Daily Mail, 14 September 2010:

"A budgie is probably the last thing you expect to land on your head while eating a bag of chips in Shetland.
But that is exactly what happened to Jill Newman as she strolled down a street in Lerwick enjoying her takeaway snack.
The bright yellow bird was about to become lunch for a hungry seagull when it decided Jill's chips looked tastier."

The lucky bird from the sky will always be grateful for French fries.
"The bizarre bombing run was triggered by a flock of seagulls that had just 'mobbed' the smaller bird - which was tagged and looked like it had escaped from someone's home - with one snatching it up in its beak.
But upon seeing Jill and her mother Betty Keegan strolling down Commercial Street carrying the tempting take-away snack in Lerwick, Shetland, the gulls dropped their catch."  
Jill said: 'The whole situation must have looked a laugh. It was just the last thing you'd expect when you're walking along eating a pack of chips.'
'I felt something scrape my head then saw it bounce off and hit a shop window. I couldn't believe it when I saw it was a budgie.'

The seagull had snatched the escaped budgie from mid-air as it was mobbed by a flock of native birds

Mrs Newman had just bought a portion of chips from this takeaway in Lerwick when she got attacked by the seagull.

The budgie is now safe at Betty's place where she is looking after it until someone comes forward.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Him or her?

 A male and female budgie go best together. Photo (c) kellynguyen67

You're standing in front of the budgie cage in the pet store, pondering over which budgie you should buy. That lovely blue-white pied female or the pretty seafoam green male with the yellow head. Tough choice!

The best answer is: him AND her!

Budgies are the happiest when a male and female can form a pair. But take it easy, you can't have baby budgies without a good nest box!
Did you know that coconuts were used for nest boxes when budgies were first imported in the UK? Read the full story here.

Budgies can't be kept alone. Budgies in the wild live in huge flocks, and that's the way domesticated budgies want it as well. The more budgies, the merrier! If you want to buy just one budgie, you will have to give it all your attention, but it still won't do. Your bird will always miss a companion of the same kind and will never be really happy as long as there is none. Therefore, a minimum of two budgies is strongly advised.
  • If you have a pair of budgies, you will find it a lot easier to study the behaviour of the little parrots. You will discover how the male and female budgie spend their days together, cuddling and flirting and playing. It's a lot more fun for your budgies, but also for you!
  • Male budgies can also live together. But it's not very exciting for the birds nor for you. You won't see as much of their true personality, compared to when you have a pair of budgies of the opposite sex (or a whole aviary of them)
  • It's wiser not to keep two female budgies together. There is often hostility between females, and you don't want to see them fighting.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A day in Budgie Kingdom

Thanks to chibudgielvr for uploading this video!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How much does a budgie cost you?

Budgies are among the cheapest pets in the world. Picture (c) that cute site.

How much does it cost you to take care of your budgie? The price for a budgie depends on which part from the world you are from. Where I live in Belgium, they generally cost between 15 and 20 euros. In Norway, the standard price is twice as much (40 euros). The standard price in the U.S. is $20. English budgies and other special budgies cost more. 

What equipment do you need?
  • A medium-sized cage: depending on the quality, anywhere between 5-200 euros (one-time cost)
  • Bird feeders and drinking fountains (one-time cost, below 10 euros)
  • Food basics: quality seed labeled for budgies, together with some fruit and vegetables. Egg food is also good for them. Price: below 10 euros a week.
  • Cuttlebone: around 1 euro a week
  • Mineral block: around 2-3 euros a week
  • Toys: you can make them yourself or buy a few fun toys at the pet store (cheap one-time costs)
  • Old newspaper: one of the best and cheapest cage liners
  • Shell sand for the bottom of the cage: below 10 euros a month
  • Light blanket to cover the cage at night (use one you have at home, you don't need to buy it)
  • Of course, you need to include the costs of going to the vet when your bird gets sick. But that goes for all pets.
As you can see, budgies are among the cheapest and most fun pets in the world. If you are planning to buy a budgie soon, you can also take a look at this handy check list.

Curious about the most expensive pets in the world? Look here!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Do budgies have a sense of humor?

                                                       It's that white budgie again! Where does it come from?

It's widely believed that certain birds have a (wicked) sense of humour. A study shows that crows for example have the habit of waiting for unsuspecting humans to walk beneath the tree where they are perched on and then accurately drop acorns on their heads. When they hit their target, they apparently caw in delight, no doubt to draw their victim's attention to the fact that they've been punked. Some birds prefer pooping over throwing things at you, though! When you see a pigeon's butthole above you, you know you can't be safe.

What about budgies, though? These hardy little birds are not only very smart, but also really playful and eccentric. They love to make you laugh by doing all sorts of crazy things, like hanging upside down on a millet string or bouncing around on their perches. Did you ever see them sing and headbang at the same time?

When I observe my mum's budgies, I can sometimes tell that they are joking among each other, probably about us and the daily events in their own budgie culture. It's hard to tell for people who don't know budgies, but if you look closely enough, you will see the shining fun-lights in their eyes when they're uttering all kinds of happy twittering noises. Don't forget that budgies also want learn from humans and that includes our sense of humour, even though they don't get the full image of it.

According to Ryan Reynolds, owner of Victor the budgie, budgies have a natural trait of putting humour into almost everything they say.  Much of his budgie's humour came from poking fun at his mate Betty or making wisecracks about people. He also thought the way people fart is hilarious and made quite a few jokes about that.

Do budgies make you laugh? Feel free to post your story here :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Budgie Embroidery Designs

Do you like budgies?
Do you like crafts?

Then maybe you could try out one of the embroidery designs from this website. Here already is a nice budgie to start with:

Have fun ^_^

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Before you decide on buying a budgie

You must agree to these conditions. You should also consider the following things:
  • Budgies need at least a medium-sized bird cage in which they are able to stretch their wings a little bit and fly. It can cost a bit of money.
  • Budgies love to live together with their owner(s), but they can be quite noisy at times. They don't sing like canaries, but they may give you the impression that you find yourself in the wilderness (especially when you've got a big budgie flock at your home like we do :-)
  • Budgies are flock-oriented animals. You need to buy at least two of them if you want them to be happy.
  • Budgies need to fly every day, but they also poop every 12-15 minutes so you may have to clean a little when they're back in the cage. Not much work though, considering the extremely small size of their poops :-)
  • Budgies can get up to 15-20 years old and you are responsible for them all that time. They don't cope well with moving to a new owner.
  • They don't need that much attention, but you can't ignore them. You have to talk to your budgies, reassure them that they're in good hands every day.
  • Budgies are no pets to cuddle with, so for young children they may not be the best choice. Budgies don't like to get picked up and hugged like dogs or cats. You may accidentally hurt them like that.
  • If you want to gain your budgie's trust, you have to spend some time on him every day and be patient with the little bird. Taming is a process that may take more than a month.
  • If you want to buy a budgie, you have to think what you're going to do with it if you're planning to go on holidays. 
  • If you already have dogs or cats, it's probably a bad idea to get a budgie. No need to ask me why!
  • Find out first if you or anyone in your family is allergic to bird feathers.
Did you go through the check list and did you accept the conditions? Then a budgie must be the perfect pet for you! Take good care of it, and you will soon find your budgie returning all the love that he receives from you.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Swim Tank

 Image (c) Picture Is Unrelated

A budgerigar, submerged in water, breathes through a transparent silicone rubber "gill". Through bionic research, people aided by such gills may someday breathe underwater. The budgie sure looks fascinated by the fish, but the picture is probably a fake. Budgies are airborne creatures and cannot swim, so a swim tank would be the least suitable place for them. Please keep that in mind when you let them fly around in the house, in order to avoid accidents. Would be cool though, if somehow they found a way to make all animals and humans breathe underwater. Can you imagine a budgie exploring the vast oceans of the world?

Thanks to my fiancé for finding this picture! :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Budgies being budgies (video)

The title says it all... really sweet video, reminds you how special these little birds are :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I just have to write about him, because I want the world to know how special this budgie is.

Sweet little blue budgie, when I first saw him, he sat close to me without showing any fear. I became friends with him immediately. I often watched how he climbed up to his favourite spot in the aviary and sang there, sometimes communicating with his buddy Wit Zingbeest ("White Singing Beast") who was singing in the other corner. I often made jokes about those two plotting mischief together. Neo is very special because he has never been one of those "overactive enthusiastic" budgies, he is modest and doesn't like to be in the spotlight. But when I come, he always listens to me and sometimes twitters little noises back, as if he knows what I want to say. He is also very fond of millet and has a sweet, caring mate called Enza (named after an apple brand in Belgium - which is a great coincidence because she absolutely goes crazy for apples). Last year, I noticed that Neo started to get ill, and it has been going up and down ever since. Tonight, I fear for his life. I suspect he has got what we call the "crooked-neck illness" and if that's true, there won't be a happy ending. There is nothing you can do to cure it (although some people say that egg food helps, so we're trying with this and also with vitamins and other little things that may do wonders) He doesn't deserve it and it makes me really sad to see him like that. When I went to see him tonight, he was resting on one leg (which gives me hope) but also with his head hanging down to one side - darn illness - he is unable to fly because he has no sense of balance anymore. But when he saw me and my mum coming, he closed his eyes and started to make happy crunching noises. My mum helps him with eating and drinking and Enza gives him all the love and care he deserves. I can only hope that my sweet blue budgie will hold on until the Summer comes and survive this illness. I really hope he will stay with us.
I just had to get it out, because I'm scared that he's going to be gone soon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Budgies and their love for Eucalypt Trees

Eucalypt trees - also referred to as "gum trees" - have a special place in the life of the budgerigar.

The wild budgerigars in Australia have evolved alongside the Eucalypt tree and over all these thousands of years, they have developped an intimate bond with the tree and its leaves. Wet eucalypt leaves excite and invigorate both the wild and aviary budgerigar into a frenzy of joy. Does this sound familiar? Yes, budgerigars also start to sing when it's raining outside! It's an ancient instinct that tells them that the tide has turned in their favour.

How does Eucalypt help budgies?

Budgies love to bathe in wet Eucalypt leaves. It's healthy and refreshing for the little birds. Females in breeding mood chew the bark in search for trace elements and lysine, the breeding protein. Wild budgies also prefer the branches and trunks of Eucalypt trees to build their nests in. On top of that, the Eucalyptus oil from the leaves has some good medicinal properties that stimulate the immune system and promote a strong natural resistance to disease. The Eucalypt branches are also a personal favourite of the budgies for stripping and gnawing. And they love doing that!
This is why you should give the branches and the leaves to your budgie sometimes, it's their natural food and it's full of good things.

Important sidenote about your budgerigar's diet: Budgerigars are vegetarian and should not be supplied with meat, milk or other animal proteins. The birds' digestive systems are not able to properly digest such food, and these proteins tend to go off quickly.

Millet combined with fresh Eucalypt leaves: your budgie's dream dinner. Image ©

Images above (c) Wikipedia & The Telegraph

Information is copyright © 2000 Rob Marshall.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Don't forget to pamper the one you love, and all your lovely budgies!

This pretty card was made by Ellen van Deelen.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Budgie Body Language (4)

Image (c)

What does it mean when my budgie shakes its feathers?

This is a very efficient way for your budgie to get rid of the dust in its feathers, little dirt particles and small pieces that come loose while grooming, or small bits of skin. Also they shake because they maybe have a feather that is set wrong and that feels uncomfortable.

It can also be a sign of mood change. When your budgie shakes its feathers quite loudly as you come close to the cage, it could indicate that he wants some privacy. Shaking their feathers is also a good way for budgies to release tension when they're stressed.

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)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fun with Budgies

Budgieman performing in London. Image (c) Maelle Morgan.

Remember Budgieman? If you like to watch a budgie circus (and if you can stand the sound of French), you can find some cool tricks in this video as well, like a budgie going down a slide and a budgie driving another budgie in a car.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Can budgies and canaries live together?

As a general rule, it can be quite risky to house two kinds of birds together in one cage. In this case, however, the budgie doesn't play the weak part. More likely the canary will be in danger. Budgies can be quite pushy to other birds, they are even bold enough to attack a cockatiel (even though the cockatiel is more likely to win from the budgie). Don't confuse cockatiels with lovebirds though, because lovebirds can't stand budgies and will kill them when they come too close.

After some research on the internet, I confirm that I don't recommend keeping budgies together with canaries or any other domestic finches because:
  • Finches are smaller than budgies and are not able to defend themselves, should the budgie decide to attack
  • Budgies can hurt the canaries badly: they can take off their beak or feet
Budgies can suffer the same fate if they are put together with bigger parrots, so putting together different kinds of birds is definitely not a good idea.

IF you still want to give this a try (after all, canaries don't eat the budgies' food and are almost the same size as them), then you should do the following things:
  • Make sure the budgies and canaries are raised together as babies
  • Supervise them frequently, see how they are getting along. From the moment they attack one another, put them apart forever.
  • Provide a big space for both species so that they don't start fighting over who is allowed to sit or sleep where.
  • Keep an extra eye out when the budgies or canaries start breeding. Females tend to be more aggressive when they're in breeding mood.
But from time to time, you can find real friendship between them :)

The canary is like "Dude... chill out!"

Other posts in this series:
Can budgerigars and lovebirds live together?
Can budgerigars and cockatiels love together?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How do I start this thing?

Another budgie comic from the comic genius Meta on the Talk Budgies forum :)


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why so Ceres?

The cere (or operculum) is a soft, fleshy swelling on top of the beaks of certain birds. Budgerigars are among the birds that have ceres. Yesterday my fiancé saw a rock pigeon walking past us at the station and asked me if I knew what the actual purpose of the funny-looking thing on the bird's nose was :)

I looked it up, and here is my answer:

Images (c) Wikipedia

The cere plays a part in indicating the reproductive stage of certain dimorphic birds and also has a key function in respiration. It is located at the top of the beak and looks a bit waxy in texture. The colour and shape vary from species to species. The nares (nostrils) lie within the cere. Falcons for example have round openings in the cere where you can clearly see the nares.

Image (c) Raptor Biology

The nares are located within the cere and they connect to the inner beak, which is in turn connected to the respiratory system. Thus, the cere plays a crucial role in respiration and protection of the nares.

Why do budgerigars have ceres?

The ceres are there to give you keep you updated about how your budgerigar is doing. As I said before, the cere plays an important role in respiration. Like most humans, budgies breathe through their nose. When your budgie is in a bad condition, you may be able to detect it when the ceres don't look so smooth and shiny as usual.

Above: a healthy baby budgie with shiny ceres. Image (c) Northern Parrots
Below: a baby budgie with scaly mites. You can detect it when your budgie has a crusty beak and ceres. If you see this, you have to treat your budgie, otherwise it could move down to the legs and do even more damage there. Image (c) Talk Budgies

Budgerigars are dimorphic in a way that the males' ceres turn bright blue upon reaching maternity, while the females' ceres turn tan. During periods of fertility, female budgies' ceres also appear more wrinkled. Young budgies have pale pinkish ceres that are smooth and shiny.

Friday, February 4, 2011

What music do budgies like?

Budgies like music. They like it loud (but not too loud), to give them the feeling it's all around them. This has to do with the "flock spirit" inside the budgies: they don't want to be alone. Sometimes they seem to be more interested in all the background noises in your house, like the noise of the vacuum cleaner (a lot of budgies start singing when they hear it) or the toilet flush (also very exciting), as they enjoy human company and all the new and funny sounds that comes with it.

Image (c) Blue Mountains Journal

Most budgies love comforting music. Don't forget that they are prisoners in a strange environment. From my experience, I would say that they are especially interested in classical music, as long as there's a nice melody in it.

They also seem to love it when you're making music for them. They all start twittering excitedly whenever my brother's playing the piano or when my dad's playing the guitar. They also used to scream at my mistakes on the piano. That could mean that they are able to distinguish the false notes like real music teachers. Isn't that amazing?

"Can you feeeeel the love tonight?"

Even better for your budgies are the CD's with nature sounds and meditation/relaxation music. They love this kind of music, because it's so beautiful and peaceful. You could put this on at any moment of the day. I would also suggest Celtic folk music, partly because it's closely linked to Nature. Some of these tunes can be really beautiful and playful at the same time and I'm sure your budgie will like that too.

If you just bought a couple of budgies, you could put on the Happy Budgies CD to make them feel at home. It appears to be really good and comforting for them. Click here for more information about this cd.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meet Erwin the budgie

Here's another example of a budgie that is a master imitator of his owner's voice. Budgies just love to talk all day long, and they want to speak our language to take part in our conversations. Notice how he even gets all the nuances in the woman's voice right! I named him Budgie of the Month because the way he says "Goodnight my baby" is simply too adorable =)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Can budgerigars eat pancakes?

Image (c) Dan Lacey

Yes, they can! You just have to modify the recipe a little, to make it more healthy for your feathered friends.

Here's what you need:

chopped apples and/or berries
small pancake mix
3/4 cup (6 ounces) organic oat, almond or hazelnut milk (this can be found in any health food store or in your grocery store)
2 eggs
crushed pellets and/or petamine
budgie seeds
olive oil

Make a nice pancake batter with the fruit pieces and seeds. Use milk and eggs to mix it together. Fry mini pancakes with a little bit of olive oil and let them cool down a little. Only give small servings to your budgies, don't make them used to it or they'll never want to eat seeds again :) you can save the leftovers (freeze them in single servings) and heat them up again later. Enjoy!