If you've ever owned a pet bird, no doubt you recall a special relationship with your first bird. For me that bird was the budgerigar, commonly known as a budgie or parakeet.
Most of us have come in contact with this colorful bird at one point or another. As a child, you might recall visiting the dime store and hearing the happy sounds of playful parakeets. If you did, you were probably enticed to go to the cages and look at the brightly colored birds.
The budgies you would see in the wild in their native home of Australia, are primarily of the light green variety, such as the trinket box pictured here. In the wild, budgies are gregarious, nomadic birds. They flock to seasonal water holes and reproduce quickly before the supplies of water dry up. Female budgies typically lay 5 to 8 eggs in a hollow tree on an every-other-day basis. The eggs take 18 to 21 days to incubate. Fledglings leave the nest at around four weeks of age, ready to join the flock.
Through the years, breeders have selected budgies for their exceptional color variety. Pet budgies are available in colors ranging from the wild greens and other green varieties to blues, violets, and greys to multi-color varieties such as the various pieds and spangles. Wing colors can be black, grey, or cinnamon "shell-shaped" markings, or white and yellow solid colors. Like most animals, albinos have been bred. The 'green' version of albino is known as lutino and appears as a yellow bird with red eyes and white tail and wing feathers.
Parakeets are known to make fantastic pets and are easily trained to talk. In fact, it has been reported that the individual bird with the largest vocabulary of all known birds is a parakeet. I have heard it said that only the males will talk--good thing no one ever told my female pet this--she had a marvelous vocabulary! Parakeets can be potty-trained. They understand context--my mother's parakeet makes sounds like the beeping of the microwave when he wants corn or peas cooked for him.
If you ever hear people say that parakeets are "just starter birds"--don't believe them! These amazing pets pack enormous personalities into their tiny bodies and are every bit the quality of their larger parrot cousins when it comes to pet birds!
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