Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sweetest Little Pea

Beaker is our parakeet (budgie). I don't have a lot of pictures of him, because he's usually pretty camera-shy. This past weekend he was in a mood for it, though.



Pretty bird!

Descriptive, but also one of his favorite things to say.



Man oh man, does Beaker love him some bananas.

He's very happy about the banana. Budgies' pupils shrink when they're excited. (Compare with the eyes in the first picture.)



The skin is actually his favorite part.

I am so totally nuts about this bird!

It takes a little while to teach budgies to speak, but it's definitely worth it. Beaker does a few tricks too. "Gimme a kiss" gets you nose kisses, and he'll fly to you when you say, "C'mere". If he feels like it.

I've been bad about not teaching him new things to say lately. But he picked one up anyway. He's got a little Ferris wheel with bells that he loves to throw to the floor. We got in the habit of saying, "Excuse me!" when he does that... and now he says it too!

Notes on parakeets/budgies:
If you ever buy a parakeet, I can't recommend this enough: find one that will sit on your finger in the store. I probably traumatized our first budgie by trying so hard to make friends with an unfriendly bird. There are all sorts of taming techniques, but none worked on poor Mr. Jitters.

When budgies are first delivered to the store, they are usually fairly tame. But it only takes a day or two for them to learn (from the other birds) to flee from the hand. So plan in advance and ask your pet store to call you when the birds first arrive.

25 comments:

Nuthatch said...

Had one years ago that looked just like Beaker. They are very sweet little birds! Your pets are almost as cute as mine.

pablo said...

We'd had several budgies over the years, but now we have two cockatiels (and a canary). The male cockatiel actually ran up my daughther's arm and sat on her shoulder talking to her in the pet shop. Now he sits on my shoulder whenever he has the chance. If only I were a Pirate.

Lacy said...

I have a budgie named Jay that is decidedly unfriendly... and I had one before him, Frankie, that was equally unfriendly... thanks for the tip! I was thinking of getting another one (as a companion for lonely Jay) and maybe I can choose well this time!

KFarmer said...

What a beautiful colors he has!

meresy_g said...

What a pretty bird. I had a pair of budgies when I was a kid. They were named Simon and Garfunkel. They never learned to talk although they were very friendly.

Rita said...

I love your blog.

There, I said it.

There is a remarkable calmness and tranquility to your writing and to your photography. Your photos help me see nuances of nature that I have never noticed in my frantic dash of a life.

When I visit your site, the words and the pictures make my scattered thoughts settle.

Thank you for your efforts. I appreciate them.

Ericka said...

beaker is darling. we had a variety of birds when i was growing up. my favorite was fred, our cockatiel. he's been gone 2 years and i still miss him so much.

birds fascinate me as much as cats do. they're just so cool. thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Rexroth's Daughter said...

Beaker is a beauty. He has fantastic colors. We had parakeets when I was growing. One looked a lot like Beaker. They weren't the friendly kind, but we did like having them around.

yllstonewolf said...

oh MY he is adorable!! we had budgies when we were kids. one used to fly around the living room and land on your shoulders. haven't had birds since. should think about it though!!

Deb said...

I used to have a budgie that was white with some yellow, named Dookey. I never got him finger-trained, but he did somersaults and other acrobatic tricks in his cage, encouraged by our applause and treats of Purina Monkey Chow.

vicki said...

He's beautiful! Such a fine color with those contrasting black spots. Banana, huh? My finches in the aviary love sweet red peppers the most, then cucumbers. I wonder if they would like bananas? I'll try when I get back to Michigan. The nice thing about Beaker is he has pet value (the finches we just enjoy watching). Here by the Bay we have a large flock of wild green parrots- I'll try to get some pictures.

Sabine said...

Had one just like that when I was a child. Her name was Kucki and she talked... There was no stopping her. Plus she laid eggs, but due to abscence of a male partner, none of them hatched. She is still sadly missed.

Garden Obsession said...

Beautiful bird! Thanks for sharing. No birds for me right now, but my grandfather's cockatiel is in love with me (and vice versa, of course). He sings little songs for me that he sings for no one else! Gives me (and me alone) nose kisses (bites everyone else). And from what I understand from Pawpaw, squawks like a banshee when I leave. He makes me feel more special than my own husband does! LOL

Sharfa said...

What a pretty bird! I know exactly where you are coming from. Galileo is my second bird, but she's an English Budgie - bigger than a regular parakeet. I'll never live without a parakeet again. Big personality in a little package, and low maintenance too.
My poor little thing is sitting on 4 eggs that will never hatch. She'd make a wonderful Mum though!

Floridacracker said...

Of course now you need another one named Dr. Bunsen Honeydew ;)

jenni said...

oh Beaker! So sweet. Sheeley is nice but Emily--she bites! So funny--mine love bananas too. Nice photos. My camera always gets blurry if I get that close.

Rachel said...

What a beautiful bird!! I have never had any for pets. Lovely colors!

Rhodent said...

Pretty bird, pretty bird... Beaker is a pretty bird!

Rurality said...

Thanks y'all. I have to admit that Beaker is my favorite pet.

If you can't spend a lot of time with your budgie, it's good to get two. But if you do then they will probably bond with each other instead of you, and it will be more difficult to teach them to speak. So I've read, anyway. (They will also bond with their image in a mirror, I've read!)

Also, a male + female = ok, two males = ok, two females = no! They'll fight, supposedly. With one of each you'll probably get babies.

Some people say that you should not teach them a whistle first, because then they won't talk. But we didn't have any trouble with that.

I had originally wanted a parrot but hubby talked me into a "starter" bird instead! Now I'm so glad he did. Beaker's just as much fun I think, and definitely lower maintenance, not to mention he didn't cost hundreds of dollars.

One other thing to remember is that budgies LOVE toys. I didn't realize how much. They love to play and will probably become neurotic if you don't give them enough toys.

Beaker's speech is somewhat like that of a toddler I suppose. To me it sounds clear as a bell, but other people say they have to be around him for a while to be able to understand it... and when they do, they'll always say, "He sounds just like you!" Hmm.

Rita - thank you! You don't know how much I needed that today. :)

Nio said...

How calm is your house with one tastey bird and three kittens?

Rurality said...

Nio - VERY careful closed-door rules have so far prevented tragedy. But there has been a close call!

Mrs Lifecruiser said...

Aahh, he is beautiful! I've had 2 with similar colors that yours. It's fun with budgies, they are so cheerful and real personalitys.

I once got 4 budgies, 2 couples. Because they couldn't keep them. They were not so friendly, not use to be close to people.

But I did get them to reproduce and that was so fun. All together they become 16! They were real personalitys all of them, different colors too.

I did notice that the first born of them, was the brightest and dared to do most new things.

It was hard to let them go, but I realized that I couldn't have 16...

Ron Sullivan said...

Nice bird! I miss having budgies.

We had a pair of English budgies, Nestor Maknho and Emma Goldman, who we got from some minister when she ran off to DC on the back of a motorcycle. They didn't talk humanish, but we were a talkative enough household already, with out two housemates. They did try to join any political discussion we had -- anarchists vs. commies, e.g. -- and we'd realize it when we caught ourselves shouting at each other and it wasn't out of passion; it was just to be heard over them. We'd talk, they'd squawk; we'd raise our voices; they'd squawk louder... Served us right for naming them what we did.

Emma died of a tumor, and when my allergies came back to slap me we gave Nestor to a friend in Fresno. He lived out the rest of his life bossing a gang of 17 cockatiels, who deferred to him immediately and permanently.

Tjilpi said...

English Budgies? English Budgies???
These birds are native to Australia, though they are bred by fanciers in England. In the wild they are green and yellow - I've seen them in flocks made up of thousands of birds - a magnificent sight.

Rurality said...

Ha! I think English budgies are actually a different type of bird than a regular budgie. They look different, anyway. (I think the regular ones, like the wild ones, look sweeter!)