An Undisturbed Night's Rest:
Parakeets have a sense of tradition. Activities that have proved pleasant and without threat become habits that are then obstinately defended against change. Your parakeet, too, is bound to develop certain routines that you should respect. First of all it will decide on a permanent sleeping place. When it gets tired in the evening and its interest in surrounding activities wanes, it will retire to its chosen spot, tuck its bill into its back feathers, and probably pull up one leg close to its body. Maybe you'll hear a last, contented peep, and soon the bird will be asleep. Before turning off the light in the evening, you should give your bird a chance to retire to its sleeping place. After that the bird should not be startled by loud and unfamiliar noises. Muted sounds that occur every evening will not bother it. It will be aware of these sounds, but because they are normal they are no cause for alarm. If the room where the bird cage is located is used late into the evening, if people are smoking and watching TV, or if bright lights are on, the cage should be covered with a light cloth to give the bird some protection. But the cloth should not darken the cage altogether. In case the bird is suddenly startled it is better if there is some dim light to help the parakeet orient itself. Otherwise it may blindly try to get away, fluttering wildly in its cage and possibly injuring itself. If the room is not used in the evening, there is no need to cover the cage unless a street light is shining brightly through the window. If you do cover the bird at night you have to remove the cloth at daybreak, because birds, with their fast metabolism, have to start eating and drinking early after the night's rest. (Make sure there is enough food left in the dishes for morning.) Parakeets need as much daylight as possible, and short winter days call for some additional hours of artificial light. Habit plays an important role in a parakeet's life as a pet. If someone normally sleeps in the same room, for instance, the bird will get used to the noises produced by the sleeper, and these will not disturb the bird at night. But if it has to share the room with another creature---whether human or animal (e.g., another bird visiting)--just for once, your parakeet may wake up in the middle of the night and start fluttering around in a panic. Under such unusual circumstances it is best to provide some light near the cage with a 15-watt bulb, so that the bird can reassure itself that there is no danger and settle down again. Loud, unexpected noises, as from passing cars, can also lead to night-time panic. As soon as you become aware of this, briefly turn on the light in the bird's room and calm the bird in a soft voice.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc. 1996