Norman Barrett MBE and his amazing budgies: Zippos Circus
When we refer to parakeets we’re actually talking about the “Budgerigar.” The word comes from the aborigines of Australia, the Parakeet homeland. They’re closely related to lorikeets (Click for Lorikeet video)
We use the term Budgie to differentiate from the category of Parakeets including Quaker Parakeets, Ringneck Parakeets, Bourkes Parakeets, Canary-winged Parakeets, Crimson Rosella Parakeets and more
Budgies are small, seed-eating birds and wild Budgies are found throughout parts of Australia. They’ve been around an estimated 5,000,000 years and although they’re naturally green and yellow with black markings, you’ll now find them in blues, yellows, greys and some even have small crests
They’re popular pets as they are inexpensive to buy and to maintain. And although many young people start with a pet parakeet early in life, we don’t hear about longevity much. I’m reminded of a local bird club meeting I attended several years ago. Dr. Karen Becker was one of the guest speakers. She told the story of doing intake on a new patient, a Budgie. The woman who brought in the Budgie in was older, late seventies, early eighties I recall.
When asked how old the Parakeet was, the woman responded 26 years old. Not seeing a lot of double decade Budgies, the first question Dr. Becker had, “how are you so sure of the age”? The woman promptly took out a receipt from the (manila folder she carried in) from F.W. Woolworths. She had paid $5.00 for the bird, twenty-six years earlier. When asked what the woman attributed the long life of the bird, her answer was “we’ve shared a cup of decaffeinated green tea every morning since I brought him home”. (We’ll reserve a discussion about tea and pet bird care in another article)
Budgies can be finger tame with a lot of patience and could possibly have a vocabulary of 100 words or more Growing up, my next-door neighbor, Mrs. Massey had a budgie that spoke phrases in Greek (she was Greek), Italian, Spanish and English.
Budgies don’t need a big cage, although bigger is better. Like many birds its easier to bond with your Keet if its a solo bird – that said Budgies tend to be happier with another Budgie or 2 (or more) in the birdcage. We really like the HQ 13221 for multiple budgies as the 32-inch birdcage width allows a certain amount of flight.
Budgies are primarily seed eaters but love all sorts of food. A good seed blend should include millet, canary seed, and oat groats. A seed only diet could lead to malnutrition and may cut their life short. Fresh foods should be introduced on a regular basis.
Bird toys and Parakeet accessories should be size appropriate. For a complete selection of Budgie toy, accessories and bird cages and Budgie food click here