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)