All About The Parakeet
In American culture, the name “parakeet” has been given to the species of parrot properly known as the “budgerigar”, or the “budgie”, for short. Technically, a parakeet is any small species of parrot with a long tail, so it can correctly be called the “budgerigar parakeet”. Confusing? Yes. Let’s just call them parakeets.
The parakeet, melopsittacus undulatus, is a small parrot about 7″ long which weighs between 30 and 40 grams. It is native to Australia’s scrublands and grasslands, but is known to travel to wooded and coastal areas when food and water are in short supply in their preferred habitats.
Wild parakeets forage for foods during the coolest hours of the day and seek the shaded protection of trees and bushes in the midday heat. Their diet consists mainly of grass and weed seeds, but in captivity we also provide fresh produce and all natural pellets to balance their diet.
The lifespan of a captive parakeet is typically between 5-10 years depending on their care and diet. Some are reported to live for 15 years under optimum conditions.
Don’t let their size fool you!
Parakeets have gained much notoriety for their accomplishments. It is a tiny blue parakeet named Puck that has the largest documented parrot vocabulary on record (in the 1995 Guinness Book Of World Records) with 1,728 words and phrases. It is a title most parrot aficionados would have attributed to the african grey.
Being very intelligent, the parakeet is highly trainable, and like all parrots, it needs to be trained. While they aren’t capable of landing a bite that will send you to the hospital for stitches and aren’t loud enough to damage your hearing (although for what they lack in volume they can more than make up for in persistence), your bird has one huge advantage: it can fly.
Parakeets are very adept fliers. They have the speed and maneuverability that is to be expected for a bird of their size, and they are natural masters at evading human hands.
So what happens if you have a parakeet with advanced flight skill that is afraid your hands, something not uncommon with small birds? When you think about how large your hand is compared to their tiny bodies, that fear is not unreasonable.
Even with the best of intentions, our huge hands reach into cages to “snatch up” little birds – or put them back in before they are ready to go.If you have a parakeet and it has evaded your grasp, you have, no doubt, resorted to chasing it through the house. If you have an already fearful bird, this only adds to their fear.
Frustratingly, the first thing many people do is reach for the scissors to clip the wings without any consideration to the psychological damage that occurs when you strip away a birds main method of mobility. A bird that cannot fly is left feeling vulnerable and this will only add to his mounting fears.
Yes, he will not be able to fly away from you anymore, but he won’t want to be around you either… and you will have earned those feelings of mistrust. Instead of modifying your bird, modify your bird’s behavior by improving your relationship with him.
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