HAMILTON & DISTRICT BUDGERIGAR SOCIETY INC.



Winning Your Bird's Trust:
Since parakeets lead nomadic lives in their natural environment, they are adept and powerful flyers. No living room is large enough to accommodate their flying needs and skills. To make up for this lack, your bird should at least have the opportunity to practice climbing, at which a parakeet in also a born artist, and be given suitable objects to work over with its untiring bill. But let us return to your Parakeet's first few days in your home. Once it has lost its initial fear of you--by "you" I mean the person who looks after the bird from the first day on, spends the most time with it, and observes it with loving attention--you can begin to get it used to your hand. The first role in which your pet gets to know you is as a provider of food. Try even during the first few days to introduce parsley, spinach leaves, pieces of apple or carrot, strawberries, grapes, slices of banana, or tangerine sections. Once the bird is used to this supplemental food you will soon notice what it is especially fond of, and you can start spoiling it with healthful treats. Setting up a consistent routine is also part of making it feel comfortable. A parakeet quickly knows what time it is given fresh food in the morning, what time you bring its favourite special treat, and when you come to spend some time with it quietly, talking to it softly or whistling something for it to imitate, or bring its little bell to serve as surrogate company. Allow the bird to initiate greater closeness. Remain a passive presence, provide your company patiently, offer a tasty morsel from your hand, tentatively suggest a game. Watch to see what habits the bird adopts and help when you can. If your parakeet tries, for instance, to take a bath in its water bowl, hang the bath house, filled with 3/4 Of an inch of lukewarm water, in the cage door opening.

Of course the bird will first shy away from this strange object and be too cautious to think of bathing. Put the bath house up every other day, perhaps with a small bunch of parsley in the water. Birds like parakeets that live in desertlike areas often take their morning bath in the dew-wet grass and don't necessarily need a real bath. If you observe your bird busily hacking to shreds a piece of carrot stuck between the bars without eating any of it, attach a section of washed and dried elderberry branch to the cage in such a way that the bird can gnaw on it. But always keep patient. Parakeets are cautious and mistrustful of all innovations. You may have to offer a number of delicious strawberries that will go untouched before your bird dares eat a seed off the fruit. And many a toy that later becomes the focus of passionate interest is initially regarded with suspicion and ignored until one day it is pecked at and used. Careful observers often notice how a parakeet will, after a quick shudder, shake out all its feathers and then calmly proceed to look over something new or put up with an overture at closeness. This shaking of the feathers indicates relaxation after agitation. A parakeet gets excited or agitated often for all kinds of reasons and to different degrees, but after shaking its feathers it becomes calm again, and it may often be ready for new ventures and discoveries. The reason for a bird's agitation often remains a mystery to the observer, and it is even harder to understand why a bird will sometimes fly up in a panic as though trying to escape from some invisible danger. This quick, frightened flight often ends in an emergency landing on a perch that is never otherwise used or on some ordinarily shunned object. All you can do at this point is to talk softly and soothingly to your bird. Unfortunately we have no idea what makes a parakeet go through these apparent pointless motions of flight reactions.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca

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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc. 1996