Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Save the Budgieman

Poor Budgieman. For most of his life Don Crown, the world famous London busker "Budgieman" has been entertaining tourists and Londoners with his magical budgies that perform tricks and stunts to his songs. Why is the council now labeling him as a criminal and threatening to fine him, confiscate his budgies and send him to prison? All he wants to do is sing his songs, let his budgies perform and bring smiles to peoples faces from all over the world. But now the local council have banned him from performing on London's Southbank, forcing him and his budgies into busking retirement.

Budgieman first started busking in 1969, over 30 years ago. He has always been with his budgies, and for a period of 5 years with his performing dogs.

He has performed in Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Charing Cross Road, Carnaby Street, Oxford Street. Also outside famous landmarks such as The Palace Theatre and The London Paladium.

During the 70's he raised a petition with hundreds of signatures and took it to the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street. We still don't know to this day how successful it was, but shortly afterwards they did start to allow buskers in Covent Garden.

Image ©
Please support this cause and register your views. Join his Facebook page, buy his songs on iTunes, listen to him on MySpace, watch him on YouTube. Allow him to raise money for charity. You can sign an online petition on Facebook here.

Entertaining is not a criminal offence. Making tourists and Londoners laugh and smile is good for everyone. Unfortunately Southwark Council have not been able to comment, but we welcome their views.

Budgieman has been entertaining Londoner's and tourists since 1969. He is now being branded a criminal and being chased away from his busking spot outside The Tate Modern on the Southbank. Save the Budgieman !!!

Information © Budgieman's Official Website

Monday, March 28, 2011

Baby budgies: here comes the sun!

It's Springtime, the Earth comes back to life after a long sleep. All over the world, baby budgies are born. In this video, you can see how they grow a little more every day. Thanks to Zeena for uploading this!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Can budgies be kept together with cats?

One of my classmates was giving away kittens a few months ago. I said that I'd love to help him out, but that we already have budgies at home. He then told me he used to have budgies as well, together with cats and that he never had had any problems.

Image ©
He probably was just lucky. When young kittens and baby budgies grow up together, they can actually get along. But when your cat grows up, he will start to remember his instinct to kill small animals, especially small birds. It can happen when you're not looking for five minutes. Cats also have the nasty habit of playing with their food before eating it and you really don't want your budgie to suffer that fate.

It's also known that budgies can be quite a tease sometimes. You've probably heard of the cheeky young budgie that locked up the cat in his cage. This attitude is like throwing oil on the fire - it could make the cat furious and chase the budgie into his death. Luckily, the budgie from the story got away safely.

So in short: NO! People may say otherwise, but you really can't take this risk!

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My budgie has escaped! What now?

Open the window
To lift into a dream
Baby, baby
You can barely breathe

- from R.E.M. "Parakeet"

Image © Recurrence on Flickr

It often goes like this: you are not paying attention for a few minutes, while your budgie finds a way outside and all you can do is watch it fly away.

Precautions that most people forgot to take

If you know that your budgie may be able to open its cage by itself, because some of the bars are in a bad shape, you have to buy a new cage. Secure the windows with mosquito nets and close all doors. Budgies are extremely acrobatic and can escape through small openings. Tell your children never to let the budgies out of the cage without your assistance. Remember yourself never to go outside when you're carrying a budgie on your shoulder!

Scared to death

If your budgie has escaped out of fear, the chances of getting it back are not very big. Scared birds don't think about landing in any nearby tree, but fly on and on without any orientation until they are exhausted. At that point, they are at the mercy of anyone who finds them, because they won't find the way back home. Some budgies die because they have nothing to eat, or they get killed by a car or a cat... there are too many dangers to sum up here.
If you are lucky, you will get your bird back. Keep an eye on the local papers, listen to the radio, look for signs outside, contact the vets in the area where you live. Another good idea is to check internet! Quite a few lost budgies end up exhausted in the garden of someone who may not even live so far away from you. That is how we got our first budgie: a dark blue bird landed in my grandma's garden, at the end of his power. The budgie didn't even struggle when she picked it up. We have taken good care of him, and he even started a family at our place. Nobody ever came to ask after him.

Within eyesight

Image ©Mark MacLaughlin on Flickr
If you are even more lucky, you will see that your budgie landed somewhere within eyesight.
Then you have to do this: keep all the windows open and place the cage on the window sill, or the garden table, just pick a place that is easy to spot for the budgie. It's also a good idea to stay near to the budgie, and don't panick. It's better that your budgie becomes curious about his new surroundings instead of scared. If you are in the picture, your bird might be extra reassured that everything is ok.

DON'T wave your arms or scream at your budgie. The smallest tension could cause him to take off again. There is not much you can do at this point. Just stay calm and try to lure him back to you with soft words, or food.

When your budgie comes back to you, you can approach him carefully. Stretch out your hand, offer him a millet spray. Once he sits on your hand, it's easy to carry him back into the cage, inside his safe home.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tip: teach your budgie to say where he lives.

The survival chances of an escaped budgerigar are very small.
Some owners have taught their budgerigars to say the adress where they live, or the phone number of their owner. If you do that too, there is a chance you may be reunited with your feathered friend, in case he escapes one day. Let's hope that never happens. Domesticated budgerigars are an easy prey for many dangers in the outside world.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The white budgie

A mysterious white budgie has made its way into my blog. If you look around, you may be able to spot him a few times.

Where he comes from, I do not know. But I've seen him doing a few extraordinary things for a budgie:
  • Cooking pasta
  • Playing the piano while singing, like Elton John.
  • Laughing at people's jokes 

And most recently, taking a shower in a tiny bathroom:

Even the little bath duckie is there. Hope the water will be nice and warm.
I tried to catch him, but he was as fast as an arrow. He was already on the window sill when I asked him how he could do all those remarkable things, and what he was doing in my blog.

Now, here's what he said, before he took off to a big budgie gathering with millet and fruit juice:

"If you give me a good name, I will come back and tell you the secret of my success."

I came up with a few good names, but I can't really decide what the budgie would like best. That is why I made a new poll. Until he returns, you will have the chance to vote on the top right of my page. Every bit of help is much appreciated! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Coconut Bowls

In the footsteps of my one-week food health project, I would like to post one more epic idea that your budgies would go crazy for: filled coconut bowls!

The coconuts are filled with a blend of apples, peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and millet.
All pictures are © Eyes Ever Opening & purpleglitter on Thanks for sharing this!

Oooh... what's this?
Check out all the pictures on this link:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Budgerigar food health week: day 7

Vegetable poll results

What vegetables are considered the best among our feathered friends?

Long before I closed the poll, I already thought it might be carrots. They are the absolute top favourite of my budgies as well! Let's have a look at the remaining top 5:

What I learn from this, is that a lot of budgies are crazy about carrots, lettuce and broccoli. I remember trying out lettuce on my budgies last week, and they were queuing up in front of it! It might be a good thing to know what vegetables are most popular among budgies, if your budgie is a so-called "seed addict" (a budgie who doesn't want to eat fresh food). You can most likely convince them by offering them small portions of carrots or lettuce to start with. In any other case, it's good to know how you can pamper your budgie in a healthy way! ;) Thanks again to all the people who voted! You helped me a lot!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Budgerigar food health week: day 6

The key to a healthy budgie diet is variation, but also patience. Some budgies namely are picky about food and find it hard to accept fresh fruit and vegetables. Do you have a little seed-addict at home? Perhaps the technique mentioned below will help your feathered friend to appreciate fresh food.

Sprouting is an excellent method (and also one of the most cost-effective) of providing nutrient-dense foods to birds. The so-called sprouted or germinating seeds are usually more easily accepted by "seed addicts" than fresh fruits and vegetables.

Sprouter with glass germinator and seed bags. Image © Renae on
What exactly is sprouting?

"Sprouting is the practice of soaking seeds overnight (1 part seeds to 5 parts water), draining them, placing them into a sprouting jar (a sieve propped up in a bowl to allow the water to drain will do just fine); and then rinsing the seeds several times a day until they start to sprout (they usually start sprouting after about 24 hours) - at which time they are ready to feed. For the next days, the seeds will continue to grow. The different stages provide different nutrients to your bird. For a few birds, a few tablespoons of seeds are sufficient. If properly attended to, the sprouted seeds will last for up to 5 days."

Information ©

What are the health benefits of sprouting? 

  • Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process - thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
  • Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll. 
  • Soaked and germinated "oil" seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while "starch" seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.  
  • It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds. Sprouted seeds also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to the texture of seeds.
"this is my private sprout plate. Wet kitchen paper, bird seed, wait a few days and a meal of fresh greens is ready." Image ©
Information ©

Sprouting is easy, you can make it yourself, or buy it online or at the local pet store. Visit this web page for more explanation and step-by-step instructions of sprouting:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Budgerigar food health week: day 5

Daily bread

There always has to be enough food in your budgie's food tray. This sounds obvious to you, but some budgerigars actually starved to death because their owner didn't see the difference between the empty seed shells and the actual food. Budgerigars "crack" open the seeds you give them and only eat what's inside. They leave the empty shells lying around. 
In comparison to a lot of mammals and reptiles, budgies can't go long without food. They digest and use the energy from their food so quickly that they are already starving after one day. Therefore you have to make sure to refill their food tray completely every day!

Healthy seed mix for budgerigars. Image ©
 Budgie-sized portions

Fruit and vegetables have to be divided into small "boats" so that it's easier for your budgie to eat. Vegetables have to be washed thoroughly with lukewarm water. Your budgies have to eat it fresh - never give them anything that starts to get rotten. Serve them fresh fruit and vegetables in the morning, so you can remove it from their cage in the evening, when they're done eating. Never leave any pieces lying around in the cage. Your budgie can get diarrhoea very easily from rotten food.

Limmmme! Image ©
 Quality takes time

A lot of fruit and vegetables you buy at the supermarket contain pesticides and absorbed poisonous fumes from all the traffic around. If you don't pay attention, your bird can get poisoned. The best you can do is buy biological fruit and vegetables and wash them more than once. Or you can buy your fruit at a farm in the countryside, far away from all the busy traffic roads.

It's always good to know where your fruit comes from. Image ©
 From the garden

Your budgies like plants like dandelions and shepherd's-purse. If it comes from your own garden, you can give your budgies the whole plant, roots and a bit of earth included. Don't give them the flowers, though! The earth contains minerals and stimulates your bird's digestion.


 Budgies cannot eat the following plants:
  • Avocado
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Ivy
  • Taxus
  • Foxglove
  • Tung tree
  • Lobelia
  • Mistletoe
  • Larkspur
  • Poinsettia
You always have to doublecheck for any toxic plants in the house when you decide to let your budgie fly outside the cage!

My list above is still incomplete. If you're in doubt about something, you can visit this link or consult the wikipedia article on toxic plants.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Budgerigar food health week: day 4

Hide and seek

Stimulate your budgie's curiosity to look for hidden things. Animals that live under the guard of humans should have enough entertainment and movement outside the cage.
You can choose to challenge your budgie a little bit when you want to give him food. That cures part of their boredom - yes, budgies do actually get bored easily when they're kept as pets! - and turns the usual food routine into a fun game of dinner-hunting!

It's important that your budgies always get to the food in the end, otherwise they won't trust you anymore.
Here is what you can do:
  1. Every other day, you can give your budgies a little less food in the cage and instead put some on a couple of food plates, for example on the table in the living room.
  2. Place the filled food plates within eyesight of the budgies. Soon, the first budgie will discover the food and the rest will follow him.
  3. After three or four times, your budgies will know they have to be on the lookout for food. Now you can hide the food plates in a more remote spot of the room.
  4. This is where the real challenge begins for your budgies. They will have a lot of fun in this hide and seek game. But you have to be sure that your budgies always get to the food in the end! They are already starving when they have to go one day without food! The game is meant as a fun addition to the daily entertainment you should provide your feathered friends.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Budgerigar food health week: day 3

Snack time

You can find a nice supply of budgie snacks at the pet store or supermarket. One example is the sticks that are covered with seeds, held together by sticky honey or a sugar solution. A lot of budgies go crazy for this. You can give it to them every now and again, but not too often, for there are a lot of calories in sugar and honey which can easily make your budgie too fat.

Snacks are actually very good for budgies, as long as you don't exaggerate. Image © DigiDragon on Flickr.
Fresh water

Your budgies should be given fresh drinking water every day. You can buy a couple of drinking fountains, or just use a flat drinking bowl. Budgies will drink water according to the temperature in the room. If it's cold, their drinking pattern could be a little inconsistent. Sometimes they don't drink at all for a whole day. But you have to give them fresh water on a daily basis to keep the bacteria in the water from multiplying.

Drinking fountains. Image ©

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Budgerigar food health week: day 2

Important nutritional supplements

A daily supply of vegetables is necessary in a balanced diet. You don't have to go further than in your own garden to get them, because budgies are quite fond of certain herbs. One example is the green leaves of dandelions. Budgies absolutely love this!
As for fruit, you have a wide variety of choices from which to choose as well. Select from oranges, apples, kiwi, guava, strawberries and mango. For vegetables, pick lettuce, carrots, broccoli and sweet corn. I just read in another source that they like spinach as well. Organic fruits and vegetables are always preferred, as they don't contain harmful pesticides. Later on, I will post a complete list of which fruits and vegetables budgies are allowed to eat - and I'll mark their favourites.

Fresh fruit. Image © dinostock from

It's also important to give your budgies vitamin preparations. You can buy this at the pet store. Vitamins in vegetables lose their value over time, after the harvest. Most food doesn't contain enough necessary minerals either. The best way to be sure your budgies don't run short on vitamins, is to give them supplies on a regular basis, about twice a week (especially during the Winter). You can for example add it to their drinking water.


All budgies get limestone cravings. Not a big surprise, because limestone contains all the elements that are needed for the shape of your budgie's skeleton and the feathers. You may sometimes find your budgies looking for small pieces of limestone in bird sand. They pick it up and eat it because it improves their digestion. Limestone pieces break down the seeds and corn pieces in the gizzard.

Grit and bird sand

Grit consists of minerals, small broken shells and coal. Just like limestone, this helps to break down the seed shells in your budgie's gizzard and stomach. Bird sand generally contains some grit, but you can also buy it in a box apart at the pet store.

Grit improves your budgie's digestion. Image ©
Cuttlebone and mineral blocks

Cuttlebone comes from the shell of cuttle fish and provides both jaw exercise and calcium for your budgie. Mineral blocks contain the necessary minerals for your budgies. You can place these two objects in the cage and give the budgies some time to get used to them. After a while, the budgies will gnaw at them to get the exercise and nutrients needed.

Cuttlebone and mineral blocks can be combined into a perch, which is brilliant because budgies love to gnaw on everything. That includes the things they're sitting on. Image © Ken Marshall from

Monday, March 7, 2011

Budgerigar food health week: day 1

Spoilt little birds

Wild budgerigars learn from an early age which plants they can or can't eat. They pick out the finest kinds of grasses and seeds to keep their athletic bodies healthy. When there's a short supply of food, they will still eat anything they can to survive.

Image ©
 Domesticated budgerigars, on the other hand, especially adult birds that had never anything else to eat than seeds, can be very picky. A lot of budgerigar owners complain about the fact that their birds only want to eat one specific seed mix. They may refuse the best-looking, tastiest fruit or the freshest vegetables you serve them. This is why you have to give your budgies a varied diet from the first day you buy them. This way, they can get used to different food types.

Seed mix as main dish

The basic element in a healthy diet for budgies is really easy to find. You may be surprised. In your local supermarket, they probably sell more than one kind of seed - and corn mix for budgies. 
Vitakraft is very common in Belgium. Image ©
It's so simple, yet all budgies need some of this every day, like humans need potatoes to stay healthy. You always have to check the expiry date before you buy a box of bird seed, though. Old corn has less vitamins and rotten seeds can make your bird sick.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Budgerigar food health week

Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks. This could be said about budgerigars. If you give them the wrong food, they won't live long. Too many budgies are obese and unhealthy because they lack certain vitamins and minerals... and exercise.

Budgie enjoying corn © Petra Kohlstadt from
The natural food supply in Australia is so high in quality that wild budgies hardly suffer from malnutrition. They can choose from a menu of more than twenty kinds of wild plants and grasses. Budgies that are kept in a cage aren't forced to live off this healthy diet and more often tempted to choose for unhealthy snacks rather than vegetables. You can only protect your budgies against malnutrition and obesity if you serve them the right diet from the moment you get them.

Combine bathing and lettuce together to give your budgie the world's best lunch! Image ©
 From now until next Sunday, I will post a daily tip about healthy food habits for budgies. At the end of the week, I will post the results of the vegetable poll on the top right of my blog. I already want to say a big thank you to everyone who voted! ^_^

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Budgies with obesity / how to make food a challenge

Photo © Internationale Zentrale Tierregistrierung
Budgies that are kept inside a cage are getting too fat too soon. This was mentioned in an article on the website of the Internationale Zentrale Tierregistrierung®. Owners should give their budgies the opportunity to have some movement, without putting any pressure on the bird but instead by making a fun game out of it. One example is to hide little food tidbits in a ball or an egg carton. This way your budgie can get more fun and more movement out of the whole eating process.

The magazine "Ein Herz für Tiere" (A heart for animals) points out that budgies enjoy having a little challenge to get to their food, as long as it's just a game and not a matter of life and death as it is for them in the wild. According to the magazine, more than half of the budgies in Germany are overweight. An incorrect way of feeding is the main cause for this problem. Many owners give their budgies too much high-energy food, while two teaspoons of grains are usually enough for a budgie.

Radical diets on the other side, are dangerous to budgies, because the small birds can starve to death very quickly. As you may know, budgies can only go 46 hours without food. You have to keep this in mind before you decide to leave them alone for a few days! A better way to deal with your budgie's obesity is to remove the oil-bearing seeds (like sunflower seeds) from its diet and provide the chance of free flight outside of the cage every day.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What is the body temperature of my budgie?

Image (c) HappyAnimal 2011
The common body temperature of a budgie is 41°C. The feet's temperature is about 39°C.

Tip: try to get familiar with the sensation of a healthy budgie's feet on your hand. Keep in mind how it feels and use this temperature as a reference for your budgie's average temperature. You will be able to tell if there's any aberration from this average in the future. But if a budgie is upset or was just flying around a lot, his heart is beating faster and his feet are a little warmer than usual. This has to do with the bird's speedy metabolism. So you should always try to measure the temperature of a completely relaxed budgie for getting a reliable result.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Marbles for hours of fun

Budgerigar showing off its treasure. Image © Photographers
One thing budgies and little kids have in common: they are fascinated by marbles and love to play with them. They're safe as a toy and provide your bird hours of gameplay. It's a good idea to make a play area for your budgie outside the cage, for example with a bird play gym and some homemade toys. You can lay some marbles around there so your budgie can get to know these shiny rolling balls!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Budgie Body Language (5)

What is that crunching noise that my budgie is making?

Image ©
When your budgie is making a soft crunching noise with its beak, it means that he is feeling happy and relaxed. Try for yourself and pay them a visit in the evening, talk to them and give them compliments. Don't speak loudly, but lower your voice so they don't feel intimidated. The budgies will return your care by twittering back at you and close their eyes every now and again. It won't be long before the crunching noise follows ;-) Which proves once more that your budgies need you around to be happy and to feel at home!

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)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Budgie: the band

"Budgie" (formed in 1967 in Cardiff) is one of the oldest and most influencing hard rock/heavy metal bands from Wales. Despite the fact that Budgie was a very successful band for its time, Metallica made the band even more popular by playing some Budgie cover songs on their album Garage Inc., as well during live performances.

The band members of Budgie are Burke Shelley (vocals, bass guitar), Steve Williams (drums) and Craig Goldy (guitar). After a journalist commented Budgie's sound was more akin to a 'Six Ton' Budgie, their name became as heavyweight as their gigs.

"Breadfan", one of Budgie's biggest hits. That's right, budgies are breadfans!

One of the reasons why I want to mention them in my blog, is that they have some really cool artwork on their CD covers. Here are some examples:

"Budgie" (debute album)

"If I were Brittania I'd waive the rules"

"Impeckable" (I love the pun and the pictures ^_^)

"You're all living in cuckooland"

Sources: Wikipedia, Budgie's official website