Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Budgies


When I was a little girl we had a pet budgie.  She was an albino, snowy white with pretty pink eyes, and we would let her out of her cage every day so that she could fly freely.  I loved her dearly, she would sit on my finger and chirp to me and I would try to chirp back at her.  We also had a Ginger Tom called Binkey.  Amazingly Binkey and Kim, although never great friends (and yes we always made sure our cat was out of the room when we opened Kim's cage), coexisted for the extent of Kim's natural life span. Kim crosses my mind every now and again, and even more so when we found the budgie aviary at Reston Zoo.


My in-laws were visiting.  Gregg and his Dad were in a different area while Celia and I went to look at a few of the exhibits.  I found the aviary on our last visit and knew she would enjoy it as much as I did.  It was busier this time, a very popular place, with lots of parents with small children.  At the entrance you could buy little sticks with seed stuck on the end of them.  We didn't know about the budgies at the time, and therefore didn't look for the food we could have given them. 


 It was entertaining watching the children feeding them.  Some were very excited and had to be coaxed to stay calm so that they wouldn't frighten the budgies away.  Others had this look of complete and total awe on their faces.  You could tell they had never fed a little bird from their own hands.


Budgies originated in Australia.  (How wonderful to see them flying around freely.  I can only imagine how noisy they would be in the trees.)  The normal color for them is a bright green with a yellow head.  These are and were always the only color budgie ever found in the wild.  These colors help them camouflage in the leaves. 


I also read online that budgies have two subspecies, the American budgie and the English budgie.  The American budgie is slightly larger than the wild budgie, but that is the only real diffence between them, other than the fact that the American budgie has more color mutations.  The English budgie is much larger than the other types of budgies.  Firstly it has a larger forehead.  Also these live from five to seven years with good care, instead of fifteen or more.  But both the American and the English budgie make very good companions.


The word "budgie" is a shorter version of the actual name "budgerigar", which is an ancient Australian word meaning "good to eat."  The Latin name of this species of parrot is Melopsittacus unduiatus.  


Budgies are found all over Australia, mostly deserts, farmlands and woodlands.  There are no actual threats, though large numbers of wild budgies die during drought.  But budgies can very easily reproduce and that makes up for the drought loss. 


They are sometimes found in huge flocks, flocks that can cloud up the skies.  Budgies like to gather in even bigger flocks near or at watering holes and are normally very active during the day.


I found all this information from a great site which you can find here.


One last shot, a close up of Celia's hand feeding this cute green and yellow one. A very nice gentleman heard me say that we would have to remember to buy some of those sticks next time we came.  He gave me one of his, a kindness that was very much appreciated by both of us.