Sunday, December 04, 2011


When I planned my visit to Atlanta Zoo, I was mostly interested in seeing the Chinese pandas. I saw the pandas once at the Bronx Zoo, but that was more than 25 years ago. When I saw the above sign, "Boundless Budgies - A Parakeet Adventure", I almost screamed with excitement. I love these colorful birds. At St. Louis Zoo, the parakeets were kept in large cages with netting all around. Here they were in free-flights and we could get real close to them. At times, the parakeets literally bumped into visitors while flying around.
I have always been fascinated by these colorful birds. I read that parakeets are friendly, beautiful, clownish, easy to tame and they breed readily in captivity. Unlike the pandas who are so picky at mating and only mate once every 7-10 years! The main difference between the parrots and parakeets is the tail - most of the birds called parakeets have long tapered tails, whereas parrots tend to have shorter, blunter tails.

The American parakeet has another name as budgie, called by the rest of the world! Budgie came from the aboriginal Australian word, betcherage (budgerigar), meaning "good to eat" - blaah (I like parakeet better). Wild parakeets are found in only the wild green. Their primary predators are hawks, tree snakes and other raptors. Parakeets gained popularity around 1850 and later a yellow mutation occurred, leading to additional new mutations such as blue, white, gray-green, even violet.

I had to laugh (it is not really that funny - sad actually) when I read that parakeets in captivity are prone to become overweight because their activities are limited. Naturally, they should be flying, foraging for food, keeping away from predators, finding nesting sites, and protecting their youngs. In captivity, the birds don't have to do anything of these, everything is available for their enjoyment. Does it sound the social/political golden handcuffs with the sole purpose keeping certain group of people dependent on government subsidized programs?
I could not believe all the beautiful feathers and how adorable these parakeets are. Male parakeets are the best talkers and could repeat over a thousand words and phrases. Some even learned how to whistle. Parakeet does well when it gets lot of attention. I am surprised to learn that pairs are less likely to talk than the single bird and single birds with mirrors are often less likely to talk than single birds without mirrors. I thought it would be the other way around that the bird would see itself in the mirror and thought it was another bird and try to communicate with it. The move attention and affection the birds get, the more likely they would talk. Some birds like to be covered at night while others might get frightened in the dark.

After reading a book about parakeets and how much work involved in taking good care of these birds (proper housing/cage, nutrition, bathing, nail/beak care, wing clipping, general health, common illinesses, and potential problem behaviors), I decided not to run out and get a pair of parakeets. I think when I have an urge to see the parakeets, a trip to the pet store and to the zoo would be best!

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails