HAMILTON & DISTRICT BUDGERIGAR SOCIETY INC.

The Behavior of Parakeets

Equalizing Temperature:
Stretching and raising wings: When it is very hot parakeets often raise and stretch both wings, panting as they do this. This serves the necessary function of keeping the body temperature uniform. Sometimes the wings are raised but not spread. Probably this behavior has nothing to do with regulating body temperature because it has been observed at a wide range of temperatures. Parakeets also like to stretch the leg and wing of one side simultaneously. Both the raising of the wings and this latter form of stretching are probably equivalents to our stretching after having sat for a long time or after waking up.

Puffing up: When a flock of birds are resting on perches or branches the birds keep at a uniform distance from each other. This spacing is called individual distance. If a bird fails to respect this distance and gets too close, the response of the one whose space has been invaded is either to threaten or to move away. But when it is very cold no attention is paid to individual distance. The birds huddle close together with puffed plumage. The reason for this is obvious, puffing up the feathers and moving close together reduces heat loss. Air is captured in the puffed feathers and acts as an insulating barrier between the body and the outside cold.

Sleeping and Resting:
In their Australian homeland parakeets gather in trees to sleep. Caged parakeets, too, retreat at dusk to specific sleeping places in the cage or aviary. In contrast to the wild birds, which sleep in different places every night, most pet birds keep the same sleeping place for years. Sleeping in a flock affords wild birds protection against predators. If the flock are disturbed they all fly up together and look for another tree to settle down on. If birds in a cage or aviary are disturbed at night this can be hazardous for them because they rise up in such a panic that they sometimes seriously hurt themselves on the grating. Parakeets are not constantly active during the day; they take rests now and then, and in Australia they have a long siesta in the midday heat. By resting, the wild birds conserve energy during the heat of the day, which is crucial to survival in their harsh environment. The rhythm of sleep and waking hours is no doubt connected to the position of the sun in the sky. Our caged birds, too, adhere to a certain daily rhythm, whether it be dictated by the sun, changes of temperature, or external care taking routines. When a parakeet is dozing it sits quietly with closed eyes, slightly puffed feathers, and one leg drawn up into the plumage of the abdomen. The bird assumes the same posture in deep sleep but also turns its head back and tucks its bill into the back feathers.

Other behaviour & social apsects.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca

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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.