Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Budgerigars are still Free

A lot of wild budgerigars still live in the Australian Outback, facing many dangers.

But they are free. Australia has banned the catching and trading of wild budgerigars in 1894.

Image (c) traveljournals.net

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Beneficial Effects of Millet and How Budgies Worship it

Budgies absolutely go crazy for spray millet (NL "Trosgierst"). They love it like most people love chocolate. But too much of this seed will make them avoid other healthy food like fresh fruit and vegetables. They will overeat and become addicted to it if given the chance, so offer it only a few times a week.

Millet, however, can be very healthy if they don't eat too much of it. It has a whole range of beneficial effects and can even cure budgies that are ill.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Budgie Calendar

I've been looking for a budgie calendar among all the animal calendars for 2011, but couldn't find any. They sell it on Amazon, though :) Look at the cute budgie on the cover!

This could be a nice Christmas gift! :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Good nutrition is the foundation of your budgie's health.

"How many times have you heard someone say, “You are what you eat”? Indeed, it’s an old saying, but in this health-conscious era, it’s one that still holds meaning. While good nutrition is an important adage for humans to heed, it is perhaps even more important for budgies. With birds, every meal is significant and should be as balanced and as healthy as possible."

- Nikki Moustaki, www.birdchannel.com

Image (c) talkbudgies.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Are Albino/Lutino budgies blind?

I've read some rumors that say that Albino/Lutino budgies (budgies that are all white or all yellow with red eyes) are possibly blind or suffer from extremely diminished vision. This is merely a myth. Albino and Lutino budgies are able to see just as much as other budgies.

The "ino" gene in Albino and Lutino budgies removes all the melanin (substance that creates the dark colours) in the budgie's colour scheme. The dark color of the eye is gone, leaving a red eye with the white iris ring. You can see this clearly on the budgie on the left.

Information and images (c) budgie-info.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Draw a Budgie

I like budgies and I like drawing, so I tried to mousedraw two sweet budgies on thebudgiecage.com.
I know it looks like total crap, but what matters is that those budgies get better.
The budgie on the left is called Neo and on the right is Ni-Elv a.k.a. Het Wit Zingbeest ("the White Singing Beast"). They are both ill right now and I really want them to get better.

Image created at thebudgiecage.com
Wanna try drawing a budgie yourself? Go HERE!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Budgie locks up Cat in his cage

It looks like a Sylvester and Tweety cartoon, but this is reality: one day, a budgie decided to leave his cage to taunt his feline playfellow. He hopped on the sleeping cat, trying to get his attention, but the cat simply ignored him at first. After being repeatedly pecked on, the cat's hunting instinct started stirring and so he jumped to his feet.
This was just the moment the budgie had been waiting for: as the cat gave chase, the budgie led it straight into his cage. Just like in the cartoons, the bird wins from the cat. But this game may not last and will become dangerous once the cat grows up.

The game has only started: cheeky budgie pecks on the dozing kitten

This is where the kitten gets annoyed and loses his patience with the budgie

The budgie led the kitten straight into the cage, where he is now locked up. On top of the cage, a victorious budgie looking down on the kitten.

Information and pictures (c) dailymail.co.uk
Read the full story here!

Friday, November 19, 2010

How old is my budgie? (3)

Age test 3/3

If you buy your budgie, he may have an ID band around one of his legs. If you take a closer look, you can see numbers and letters. If there aren't any numbers or letters on it, then it's a family band or "split band" - a coloured band that is split on one side so it can be placed and removed on a bird at any moment in his life. Breeders use this to keep track of the family line of the budgie. But it won't tell you anything about the budgie's age.

Left leg: ID band. Right leg: family band. The ringing itself often happens before the budgie is 10 days old.

On the ID ring, you can read the following information in this order:
  • The company who distributed the band
  • The breeder's number and/or initials
  • The year the budgie was hatched in (usually the two last digits of the year are displayed)
  • Serial/pedigree number of the budgie (example: if it says "29", then this budgie is the 29th budgie hatched that year)
You can also check the ID band colour. Different colours represent different years, it's an easier but less reliable way to find out how old your budgie is. You can find a short list on the ID band colours here. For the new six-year cycle that started in 2009, go here.

In Belgium, the system is pretty much the same. There are the so-called "open rings" (family bands) to keep the different families apart. To get hold of the "closed rings" (ID bands), you have to be a member of a bird/budgerigar club. On these rings, you can find the following information:
  • Serial/pedigree number, chosen by the breeder (max. 3 digits and 3 letters)
  • The initials of the budgerigar/bird club the breeder belongs to
  • A digit or number that says how many rings the breeder already owns (if it says "17", it is your 17th ring)
  • The year that the budgie was hatched in
You can choose between a regular, silver or coloured ring.

Information and images (c) budgieplace.com; budgerigarsociety.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How old is my budgie? (2)

The second age test involves the colour of your budgies' eyes.

The eyes of young budgies will mostly be black. As they get older, the iris gradually becomes light grey/brown and then eventually turns to very light grey/brown.

Left: Baby budgie's eyes will be black for most varieties. Age: 0-4 months old.
Right: A budgie with a dark grey iris. Age: around 4-6 months old

Left: A budgie with medium grey irises. Age: approximately 6-8 months.
Right: A budgie with very light-coloured irises. Age: 8 months and older.

Again, there are exceptions:

  1. Lutino/Albino, Lacewing and Fallow: these red-eyed varieties always have a light-coloured (pink) iris.
  2. Recessive Pied and Dark-Eyed Clear: these varieties always have dark eyes.
Images and information (c) budgieplace.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How old is my budgie? (1)

There are at least three ways to approximate the age of your budgie.

Age test 1/3: check the budgie's cap feathers.

Young budgies have bars on their head running all the way down to the cere. When a budgie is about 4 months old, he will go through his first molt. The top feathers on the head will be replaced by feathers that are no longer striped. Therefore you can determine that a budgie with a striped cap is less than 3 to 4 months old, while a budgie with a clear white or yellow cap is older than 3 to 4 months.

Exception! Lutino or Albino budgies don't have the usual feather markings and therefore this age test cannot be applied to them. The same goes for Recessive Pied budgies.

Left: compare the older bird on the left and the younger one on the right
Right: this age test cannot be applied on a recessive pied budgie

Information and pictures (c) budgieplace.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Budgies - The Sounds of Wild Budgerigars

"Recorded in the deserts of Australia - the home of the Budgerigar - this album presents the calls and songs of wild Budgerigars.

Communally roosting Budgies awake at first light, chattering amiably, before fluttering off in small groups to feed. Throughout the day they are heard communicating socially while interacting, feeding and preening, including contented, quiet subsong.

As well as Budgies, you will hear a range of Australia's inland birdlife. Budgies are very social and vocal birds, and this recording is intended to bring health-promoting stimulation to pet birds and relaxing listening for their owners."

Huge flock of twittering budgies!

The ancestors of our pet budgerigars live together as one flock in their natural surroundings in Australia. As long as there is no danger, they are twittering and singing happily. The voices of other budgies indicate that your budgie is in a safe place and comforts him, because after all, he is in a strange world as a pet. Budgies know instinctively that there is no danger as long as the other budgies keep on singing. If you have budgies, you probably heard them go quiet sometimes, sometimes very abruptly, in the middle of a song. This means your budgies are alert or sense danger. If you want to make your budgies happy and less stressed, you should listen to "Happy budgies" together with them, to make them feel safe and at home. On the website of Listening Earth , you can learn more about the record and buy the mp3-download of the album.

Information (c) listeningearth.com

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Parakeet" vs. "Budgerigar"

From the encyclopaedia Britannica:

"PARAKEET, also spelled PARRAKEET can refer to any of numerous seed-eating parrots of small size, slender build and long, tapering tail. In this sense, the name is given to some 115 species in 30 genera of the subfamily Psittacinae (family Psittacidae) and has influenced another parrot name, lorikeet." The Loriinae (lories and lorikeets) are also considered to be a subfamily of the True Parrot family - the Psittacidae.

Left: the True Parrots are about 330 species of bird belonging to the Psittacidae family
Right: a Lorikeet drinking. They have specialized brush-tipped tongues for feeding on nectar and soft fruits.

"PARAKEETS occur worldwide in warm regions; they are abundant from India and Sri Lanka to Australia and the Pacific Islands, throughout Southeast Asia, and in tropical America. Typically they form large flocks and may be serious pests in grainfields. Most species lay four to eight eggs in a tree hole. Dozens of colourful kinds are kept as pets. All are highly active and need much room; most are pugnacious—notably when paired—toward other birds; and a few become good, though small-voiced, mimics. Many colour varieties and intergeneric hybrids are known in the wild as well as in aviaries."

Picture: a trained Indian Ringneck Parakeet plays basketball with his owner

"The most popular caged PARAKEET is the BUDGERIGAR, or shell parakeet (Melopsittacus undulatus). Mistakenly called "lovebird", this 19-cm (7.5-inch) parakeet has hundreds of colour mutations from the green and yellow basic stock; but cheek spots and close barring on the upper parts usually persist. Sexes look alike but may differ seasonally in colour of the cere, the bare skin at the base of the bill. Budgerigars are seed eaters; in the wild, they form large flocks in Australia’s grasslands. They breed colonially, in tree holes, laying six to eight eggs twice a year. Most budgerigars are hardy, surviving for 5 to 10 years."

Picture: a budgie and a lovebird, sharing a meal. These birds are often confused with each other, and in most cases they are even enemies.

"The Australian parakeets, or rosellas, Platycercus species, have scalloped backs and underparts, black shoulders, distinctive cheek and throat markings, and long, broad tails that are centrally greenish or bluish with a blue and white margin. The seven species, averaging 26–36 cm (10–14 inches) in length, are also called harrakeets. The smaller broad-tailed parrots are the five species of Psephotus, which have no specific group name."

Left: Platycernus Eximius or Eastern Rosella
Right: Psephotus Dissimilis or Hooded Parrot

Information (c) Encyclopaedia Britannia
Pictures (c) Wikipedia

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Smallest parrot species in the World

The small colourful birds that we know as budgies are thought to be a sub-species of the parrot. Though budgies are often also called parakeets - especially in American English - the term "parakeet" may also refer to any of a number of small parrots with long flat tails. I'll come back to this later.
Budgerigars can proudly claim their place as one of the smallest parrot species in the world. Their natural shape and agility makes them hard to catch.

The smallest parrot species in the world, however, are not budgerigars but yellow-capped pygmy parrots (photo on the right). The tiny bird is not much bigger than an adult person's thumb and smaller than some of the insects with which it shares the forest.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Skateboarding budgie

Five steps to learn your budgie the basics of skateboarding, which is a budgie's favourite sports game. They love to play this, and they love to get your attention :) Remember not to exhaust your budgie, 2 minutes per day for each step will do.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Budgie Personality

Every budgerigar has its own beautiful personality, but there is one unique characteristic that all budgies have in common: curiosity. I have no doubt you will have seen this in your budgie. When you interact with your budgie, you can tell that he is very curious about what you do, and about all the "weird" things and habits of the human world. It's a positive kind of curiosity, for budgies WANT to find out what's going on around them.
Another characteristic unique to budgies is playfullness. They are most entertained with other budgies as playmates, but it's also important to foster your budgie's playfullness by providing him enough toys. Give him a few hours of free flight every day, because budgies are born explorers!

There is also a "flocking together - spirit" among budgerigars. They are social flock birds. To be part of a budgerigar flock is a very important part in their life. In the wild, almost everything that a budgie does is flock-oriented. Looking for food, eating, drinking, give a signal when there's danger, preening, napping and socializing are all done as one flock. This way, your budgie will completely wither away if you don't give him a budgie friend in his cage. Some budgies even die of loneliness. When you have at least two budgies, it's a good idea to tame them and make them feel that your family is part of his flock: allow the budgie to sit on your shoulder and watch TV with you, and allow him to sit at the table with you. You can give him some healthy pieces of your dinner, which he will nibble on gladly. The budgie will feel that he is part of your flock when you do things together like this. Talk to him, tell him about your day, how you feel and what you dream of. You will find that the budgie is listening to you and that he is even talking back to you, and that the friendship growing between you and the budgie is very rewarding.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Don't you fall asleep now!

This is something I frequently noticed in budgies behaviour.

When one budgie is ill, he puffs up his feathers and sits on the perch with his eyes closed.
The other budgies around him know what is going on, they can tell that their buddy is not feeling well.
Budgies seem to know what might happen when another budgie starts closing his eyes... and they don't want the budgie to fall asleep forever. Because of that, they poke the sick budgie whenever they catch him dozing off.
It's a friendly but decisive poke with the beak, acting as a safety measure to keep the sick budgie awake... and alive!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cartoon time!

I found some funny/sweet budgie cartoons online:

"For heaven's sake! The budgie went back in his cage half an hour ago!" This one reminds me so much of my dad :)

Escaped budgie and something that looks like a flying penguin - regret

"A very very very reluctant budgie"

"Reunion in Heaven" this one is just sweet :)

"How many times? DON'T overfeed the budgie!"

"You won't last ten minutes out there!" awww.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What Budgerigars Need

Before buying a budgie, you must agree to these conditions:

Budgerigars need:
  1. to be able to fly
  2. an aviary safe from predators with protection from the cold
  3. wooden perches and nest boxes
  4. companionship from other budgies
  5. a daily diet of budgie seed and treats such as fresh lettuce, carrots and apples.
  6. Cuttlefish and grit to help with digestion.
  7. a constant supply of fresh clean water supplied in water bowls off the ground
  8. a place for bathing
  9. toys
  10. your love
  1. Budgies are naturally shaped to fly, they are airborne creatures that can travel more than 400 km a day in the wild. If they don't get the chance to move around, they will become sick and their bodies will soon start showing signs of wear.
  2. It's a good thing to keep your budgies in an outdoor aviary. They will be happier there than inside a human house. They will also get plenty of Vitamin D, which is a healing medicine on its own for the budgies. However, you have to keep them safe from predators. They should never be able to get their claws into the aviary. Budgies can stand warm temperatures but not cold temperatures (below 8° is already too cold for them) so make sure to install a heating system during Autumn and Winter.
  3. Buy wooden perches in different thicknesses rather than plastic ones, it's much better for your budgie's legs! Budgies need a nest box to start a family. You can read more about it here.
  4. In the wild, budgies live in large groups and are very social. Therefore they like the company of other birds. It is best to keep budgies in pairs. However, if you only want one bird, then you must become that bird's companion. Give the budgie lots of attention, talk to it and play with it as much as you can. The budgie may regard you as its parent and even fly around behind you. But don't let your budgie wither away in a lonely cage with only a mirror as his playmate. That is one of the cruellest things you can do as an owner.
  5. Most owners have no idea what to feed their budgie. This is why a lot of pet budgies don't live longer than a few years.
  6. Budgies love cuttlefish, they use it to trim their beaks as well as to digest some seeds. You can also give them grit, pour some on the bottom of the cage so they can get to it anytime they want.
  7. I don't need to explain why bad water can make a budgie sick. It makes us sick too. It's very important to give them fresh water every day. You can add some aviary vitamins or applecider vinegar to it to make it more sour (makes it harder for bacteria to reproduce in the water) + applecider vinegar contains a lot of health benefits.
  8. Unlike some cats and dogs, budgies love taking baths every day! Read more about it here, or take a look at this video ^^
  9. For entertainment, home-made toys are equally appreciated as the commercial ones. Budgies love shredding computer paper strips and climbing home-made wooden latters. They entertain themselves with simple items such as paper-clip chains, marbles, natural wood toothpicks, thimbles and other colorful household objects that "shake, rattle and roll."
  10. You have to understand that the budgie's life, from the moment you buy it, is in your hands. You have to show your budgie that you appreciate him, that he is welcome at your home. Budgies fear the human hand because they know it catches them. Gain your budgie's trust by whistling tunes to him, speak soft and sweet words to him. Don't shout or make any sudden movements that may scare the budgie. You will find that the budgie is listening to you, that he wants to get to know you and even talk to you and care for you. Don't break that bond, it is one of the most unique and beautiful things in this world.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Budgies in Petting Zoo Huizingen

A few days ago, I went for an Autumn walk in a recreation park not far from my hometown, together with my family. We had the chance to check out a little petting zoo, and I found budgies!

Aren't they the sweetest little sleepy-heads you've ever seen?

Pictures (c) me

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Daily Exercise

Budgerigars need a lot of exercise, in fact as much as possible, especially when they're living in small aviaries. This was determined by evolution, since budgies cover long distances in the wild. Nature has given them wings because they are airborne creatures, they need to stretch their wings and fly around. Ideally, budgies should be allowed out of the cage every day. Before you let your budgie out, make sure the room is clear of hazards. The most important thing of all may be to cover all windows and/or transparent glass doors - your budgie could fly against it and get concussion.
You probably don't want your budgie to take an outdoor excursion, because he might never come back. So you have to make sure all the doors, windows and other possible escape routes are closed off. Also, cover all sharp objects that stick out and may wound the budgie during its flight (this could simply be a table corner). If there are any ceiling fans or other fans, turn them off. Don't keep a vase on the table - I've read enough horror stories about budgies who got stuck in their without knowing what was going on, so they didn't cry for help. The same goes for other dark holes and small places - budgies are curious, they might go in there and never come back, so cover those places. Don't let your budgie fly in a room with open flames, dogs, cats or any other hazards. Also be wary of drinking glasses or other containers with liquid, you don't want your budgie to take swimming lessons in that, let alone drink from it.

If you don't want to worry about this daily checklist of hazards, you could also build an indoor aviary or outdoor aviary (you can use IKEA racks for this). In such places, budgies can fly around at pleasure. It is a vexation for the birds to be sitting in their cage every hour of the day. I suppose you wouldn't like to be locked up in your room all day long either. Therefore you have to consider this before even buying a budgie, because having them locked up all day long is one of the most cruel things you can do to them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to care for Budgies

I was looking for more budgie facts, when I stumbled upon this video:

Marc Morrone tells us a little bit about our little budgie buddies. Enjoy!