Everything You Wanted to Know About Pet Parakeets and Budgies

Parakeet History, Behaviors to Anticipate, How to Tell Parakeet Age, How to Train and Feed a Parakeet Plus a Running Commentary on the Raising of Yellow Yorkie

My New Pet Is A Parakeet!

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We found our first pet parakeet. We didn’t go to a pet store to buy it. We still have her. I grew up with dogs so I didn’t have the slightest clue as to how to handle, care for or raise a pet parakeet. My first instinct was to try to hold the pet parakeet but moving fingers, as I quickly learned, makes them a bit nervous and edgy – it causes them to fly away! And, I’m sure the fact that she didn’t know me when I found her didn’t help with the touching and handling. For all she knew, I could have been preying upon her and viewing her as my next snack for the day.

When I found my pet yellow parakeet – also referred to as budgerigar or pet budgies – she was clinging upside down to a gate door that served as a parking garage exit in an apartment complex. I didn’t notice her at first because she was quiet and did not move a muscle. Normally, parakeets and birds will panic and fly away at the first sign of danger. This parakeet was obviously extremely tired and in great danger.

I caught a glimpse of the budgie as the gate door began to close behind me. I quickly stopped the door from closing and put my hands up to entice her onto my hand. She, of course, would have nothing of it and even in her weakened condition, tried with all her might to fly away.

I’m not a fan of clipping wings but in this case, I think this parakeet’s clipped wings saved her life. Otherwise, she would have flown further away than she did and would not have survived the night fleeing from animals more attuned to outdoor survival. She could fly only a few feet at a time at an elevation of one foot from the ground. So, it was easy to catch up with her. My friend, who did have experience with parakeet budgies, was able to pick her up. We took her inside the apartment, checked her for injuries and tried to assure her that we were friends and not Aborigines needing a parakeet snack.

The Aborigines, inhabitants of Australia 5,000 – 40,000 years ago, ate parakeets as snacks.

Since we were not bird owners, we did not have a bird cage. But, we did have alot of plastic coated wires and cables dangling from computers and TVs which quickly grabbed her attention. She flew to them immediately. And it was on these wires and cables that she perched for a few days while we looked for her owner.
Of course, I didn’t realize just how much poop or guana a parakeet bird produces in a day. Lots! The good thing though is that it dries quickly and can be removed pretty much without incident or stain. And once you drop it into the sink or toilet, it melts. However, be careful to not let the poop sit for days at a time. Poop and dander can be responsible for mild to severe allergic reactions.

Parakeets are tiny (the size of a hand) and colorful birds from Central Australia. In Latin, the term “parakeet” translates to Melopsittacus undulates which means “song parrot with wavy lines”. The Aborigines called parakeets “budgerigar” or budgie. But, since they really did look like small parrots, the name parakeet stuck.

You can see by the parakeet pictures on this page that this beautiful yellow parakeet budgie, judging by the lines on its head, was a mere baby. We did our best to locate the owners but after a week of looking, asking around and posting notices without responses, we made the decision to keep her. And it’s a decision that we have not regretted.

The only problem in raising our yellow parakeet is that we were not present for the first months of her life so we can only guess at how she was cared for, fed, and trained. She is very skittish around humans – even us after 5-6 months – so we are sure that she was not hand-trained. There is trust being established between us but it is a slow process. More than likely, she shared space with many other parakeets in a cage and learned to flock with them. Learning to flock with us will be a long and arduous journey but it’s been so enjoyable to get her on our fingers, hands and shoulders and to hear her emit what seems like 20-30 different chirps.

It is customary of course and necessary to name your pet parakeet budgie. My friend had always wanted a Yorkshire Terrier but could not justify bringing one into a small apartment. Once we made this yellow parakeet budgie our pet, we decided that she was our Yorkshire Terrier. This site is dedicated to Yorkie, our little yellow parakeet.

Since I was out of my element as a caretaker for a new parakeet budgie, I conducted many online searches related to parakeet care but just couldn’t find more than a couple of helpful websites. So, time has passed and we are more experienced pet parakeet owners and can offer you some guidelines to follow on parakeet health, parakeet training, behaviors, food, and general care.

Do Parakeets Really Act and Behave Like the Books Say?

As you know, we own a pet parakeet. The information posted in the site is based both on research and experience with our budgie. So, we thought we would update you on whether the research we uncovered proved true regarding parakeet behavior, care and training.

As you know by now, we didn’t buy our parakeet from a pet supply store or a private breeder. Our parakeet was lost when we found it. So, we really don’t know exactly how old she is, what her sex is (we think at this early stage that she is a she) or what her early treatment was like with her original owner. So, we have guessed that we found her in her first year probably around 3 months or so considering that she had a great number of lines on her care, the nose part above her beek. The books told us she would acclimate to us within 6 months but we found it took a solid 8 months for her to begin accepting us as part of her flock.

During the first 8 months, she basically had 3 preferred nesting places around the house: her cage, the carpeted floor in front of a sliding glass door in the hallway and her favorite perch, the glass light protectors above the bathroom sink mirror. Of course, since she found the glass protectors above the sink, we have not been able to turn on the lights inside those protectors for fear of burning her little legs. It’s a good thing the bathroom has a heat lamp that provides just enough light to wash and shave!

Any time we came near her during the first 6 months, she would fly away even though she knew we were responsible for feeding her. Parakeets maturity levels and development is akin to toddlers but even toddlers know where to go find their sustenance.

At about 8 months, she began getting more comfortable with us. However, she has still not gotten used to our hands. She’ll jump on them but will quickly dance up our arms and sometimes right to our shoulders to perch when we get her down from the glass protectors. Then there are days when I lay on the couch with her and she sits for 20 minutes on top of my hand – never in the palm. One day, while she was perched on my arm, I reached in with my face toward her beak. She leaned back in toward me then began investigating my entire face, from my mouth to my mustache and beard to my nose and even ears. After a few more weeks, she began nipping and tugging at my mouth, gently grabbing my lower lip and nose with one of her feet while she attempted to climb on my face. I have a rather large nose so perhaps she thought she could nest there also. Now, she lets me caress her beak and belly with my mouth as she pecks away at my facial hairs.

What’s neat about our parakeet is that she seems to have her own personality. Many of her parakeet behaviors are predictable but others are not. I work from home so I do get to spend most of every day with her so I make sure that I spend time with her each day no matter how busy the day becomes.

Parakeet books tend to advise parakeet owners to keep the parakeet away from other birds if you, as owner, want to bond quicker with it. However, very early on, I made sure to put some of her birdseed on the outdoor balcony sill which is just a few feet away from her indoor cage. She enjoys when the other birds from the neighborhood come to visit for a quick meal. She chirps away, watches intently, flies from couch to cage to drapery at rapid speeds observing and trying to get their attention. It truly is a sight to behold. Perhaps this is why it took so long for us to bond but I can’t see penalizing a bird just so I can have a better shot at becoming its friend. As it turned out, friendship occurred anyway.

One Interesting Parakeet Behavior That Will Blow Your Mind

Hanging on my drapes above a sliding glass door that looks out onto the balcony where I feed the other birds is a string of Christmas lights. I don’t take them down because, well they’re Christmas lights. Christmas lights get tangled and are never the same after that first year in a box. I have the lights hooked on the draperies so they sort of loop down then up, left to right, across the draperies. A couple of months ago, Yorkie began investigating the lights, nibbling and tugging away at the hooks that secured them for days. Finally, she figured out how to loosen them. She pulled out a few of the hooks thus creating a very big loop of lights that hangs low drooping across the window halfway between the celing and floor. This string of lights has now become one of her favorite perches for watching her bird friends. Did she know she was creating a perch for herself? I doubt it. Parakeets love to nibble and taste, similar to human toddlers. But, she is back up on the draperies a couple of times each week now trying to prod down the remaining string of lights. Learned behavior?

Unleashing Christmas lights is not the blow-your-mind story I had in mind. This is. As you know, California is prone to earthquakes. A month ago, we had an earthquake in the middle of the night. Things rumbled a bit but I didn’t awake during the first 45 seconds of it. It was not until Yorkie awoke me that I became consciously aware of the earthquake. I awoke to her frantically flying around the house, into walls, cabinetry, windows then crash landing on the ground, all the while squawking loudly and nervously. After a few minutes, she settled under a doorway frame which blew my mind. She instinctively knew to fly to a doorframe cover while we, as humans, need to be taught this preventive behavior. Remember the Tsunami in Thailand a few years ago? The birds were the first to leave the beach area for the hills – BEFORE the tsunami crashed ashore. Had the natives and tourists there been attentive to bird behavior, it is said that some lives would have been spared. Amazing animals these birds!

Yorkie the Pet Yellow Parakeet’s Behaviors After 1 1/2 Years

It’s taken about 1 1/2 years but Yorkie, my pet yellow parakeet, has endeared herself to me. I’ve learned to mimic some of her chirps and intonations and I think she appreciates that. She will not fly directly to my finger yet but does enjoy fly-bys where her wing grazes my head. She will perch on my finger from her light perch and allow me to sit with her on the chair overlooking the balcony outside. We sit there and listen to the pigeons in the trees – she’ll respond to their chirps. She also yelps at the ones that come to the balcony ledge to eat the birdseed I’ve put out for them. At times, the power of persuasion triumphs and she’ll eat alongside them. She’ll also climb my arm, rest on my shoulders, fly over to her cage then fly back onto my shoulders.

I feel bad that she doesn’t have a budgie playmate to bond with but two parakeets chirping in a small apartment would not be good for business. As you know, Yorkie has the run of the place. Her parakeet bird cage roof is open 24/7. She flies around at will, sometimes perched on the fake tree branches attached to the bird cage that have a direct view of the outdoors; sometimes she’s perched on the Barcelona Chair sitting adjacent to the balcony sliding glass door, other times she is either perched on the Christams lights or on the bathroom lights that are really her places of safety and comfort. The picture above illustrates her skills with those bathroom lights where she will hang like a bat and chirp at me or at her fake friend in the mirror. Parakeets are playful and adventurous as long as they sense no danger in the adventure.

Yorkie the Pet Yellow Parakeet After 2 Years

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After 2 years, I noticed that she is able to puff out her throat almost looking like, at times, an older person with a big neck wrinkle. I’ve also noticed that her head is not as smooth as it was even a few months ago. Her playful nature is still evident although not as much so. She seems a bit more conservative. She no longer flies to the chandelier to nose around in. She does still fly to the Christmas lights hanging in front of the sliding glass door overlooking the outside balcony. She must chirp at her pigeon mates each morning and afternoon. She still hangs upside down from the glass light protectors in the bathroom, simulating a bat albeit a yellow bat. Small noises still scare her even though she’s been in the apartment for 2 years. I don’t anticiapte this changing. Every once in a blue moon, she’ll freak out in the middle of the night and start flying around the darkened apartment. Since parakeets can’t see in the dark, she flies into walls while sending out annnoyed and scared cackles. I have to gingerly turn on a light adn then go calm her and bring her back.

Parakeets are such creatures of routine. Do anything different and it can throw them off for 2-3 days. For example, I changed out the light fixture in the bathroom, the fixture she is used to perching on. Since there’s a mirror that it attaches to, what she sees in the mirror is a friend even though it’s really her. Even though she will do almost anything to stay perched there to be close to her “friend”, she would not go near the fixture for 2 days. She’d fly by it, checking it out but then she would return to her birdcage. She settled down after 2 days and now trusts her new light perch in the bathroom. She has grown to dislike TV sound. Most of the time, she flies back into the bathroom when the TV is turned on.

I have come to suspect that parakeets have photogenic minds, the degree of which I am not quite yet sure. I line the bottom of her cage with paper towels. Now, normally the paper towels are white with no patterns. However, from time to time, the store only has patterned paper towels. When I change the color or pattern of the paper towels in her cage, she will not immediately enter it. She will conduct many fly-bys until she is sure that the new paper towels are not harmful. This doesn’t happen for 2 days because she knows her bird food is in the cage. It could last 4-8 hours though.

She doesn’t like it when people visit but she will perch on my finger with them there – sometimes only for a minute. It tells me that she can process trust. Even if I’m gone for a couple of days or a couple of weeks, she still recognizes me immediately upon return.

Although she understands that I feed her and that I mean her no harm, we still have not bonded as I would have liked. And I think the main reasons are the mirrors in the bathroom. As long as parakeets can bond with other parakeets, there is no sense of urgency to bond with a human. The mirror has made her believe that she has had a friend for 2 years.

Parakeet Video: The Edited Transcript

Yorkie was found/rescued in 2008. She was hanging upside down to an outside garage entrance gate in Los Angeles, CA, clutching as mightily as she could, heart racing, careful to not call attention to other preying birds in the area. She lacked strength so she was captured and brought indoors. Lost and Found notices were posted around the neighborhood but no one responded. Since then, she has been a great pet with eye-raising idiosyncrasies and habits only typically enjoyed by parents of toddlers. A great deal has been learned about parakeet care since the early days – the parakeet cage is always left open so she is free to fly around the house at will. Parakeet training has been a bit more challenging. Since she wasn’t hand-raised, she is not as endearing – although quite warm and playful at times. She will sing back and forth, even mimic voice intonation to a degree. As you will see in the Parakeet Video, her best friend is the parakeet in the mirror.

The story behind her name is comical. My friend had always wanted a Yorkshire Terrier dog but we really never got around to adopting one because we both knew that I would be the one to babysit, walk and care for the dog. I really didn’t have the time. So, the decision to adopt a Yorkie was indefinitely postponed. Then, this beautiful young yellow parakeet was found and it was easy to think of a name for her. Since she seemed an apt alternative to a Yorkshire Terrier, the parakeet was named Yorkie.


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