Flock of ROCK!

I’m on the writing committee for a local charity, and this is one of the songs we might be using/rewriting for our musical. Tippy clearly likes it as much as I do. XD

…Sorry it’s a little blairwitchy. I was dancing with him.

#birdpeople

Kindling the Cockatiel’s Affections

Q-Tip: A Man After Someone Else’s Heart

Tippy spends most of his days trying to woo Winston, our English budgie. She is a strong, independent woman who needs no man, though, so his efforts fall flat (we were THRILLED when they were sitting side-by-side the other day). Hubby and I have been going back and forth over whether to get him a friend who wants the least bit to do with him, but the reality is, we have five birds. And though we love them, it still feels like a lot.

So, I’m endeavoring to win his affections; since she constantly rejects him, maybe he’ll open up to me with a little extra TLC?

The biggest issue with Tipton is that it can’t be forced; he has to want the attention, or it backfires.

I’ve started walking around with him on my shoulder in the morning when he’s so excited to not be alone after the evening he starts his little clicking affection noises. Murmuring sweet nothings; giving him kisses. I’ll do this until he starts getting into a snit and his happy clicks begin to turn into angry chitterings; initially, I’d have about thirty seconds before he realized he was betraying Winston, but a week of this later, he’ll coo at me for about five minutes before he realizes I’m not a bird.

We’ll see… can I win his heart?

Diggin’ the Deck

Decided to update Winston’s cage from the janky, rickety red one that always falls apart to a swankier blue one (this involved purchasing it from a neighbor on the other end of the development and carrying it waiter-style on my shoulder ALLLLLL the way back to my house, thus solidifying my position as the resident crazy bird lady).

The only sad part was the loss of the swinging door… We stuck this epic perch onto it that doubled as an indoor/outdoor “porch” as Fletcher puts it.  That was the single benefit of the old, constantly-collapsing one.

The little ones needed something. Thus, we added some “antlers” to the top of the new one and created… “The Deck”!

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They dig it. 🙂

… Though Fletcher is now calling it the “Swiss Family Robinson”.

Whatever. It’s awesome.

“I am a little bird.”

There is nothing I agree more with than the following sentiment:

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Every little bird I’ve ever met has had his or her own BIG personality–they are at least as individual as cats and dogs, unique as snowflakes. ❤

Re-blogged from: http://avianawareness.tumblr.com/

Budgie or Cockatiel? Our Limited Experience

The video below essentially highlights the key differences in personalities between cockatiels and English budgies (the carefully-bred, more-expensive-than-their-svelte-American-cousins behemoths of the budgie world):

When people debate over getting their “first bird” (I refuse to call any bird a “starter bird”, for each bird is its own individual and there will never be another quite like the one you adopt) most people question whether or not they should go for a cockatiel or a budgie (a.k.a. parakeet).

This has been debated to death in very clinical ways (like here or here or you can even take a fun test to determine your “right” bird here!) but I can’t help but weigh in.

Now I’m sure parakeet lovers will drag me over the coals, but I have to be honest–

I’d recommend a cockatiel every time.

Budgies are gorgeous and come in so many fun colors that rainbows are frequently jealous, but their personality (at least, if you have more than one) pales in comparison to their lesser-hued cockatiel compatriots.

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Roosevelt and Beaudesert, our rainbow American budgies who flew over the rainbow bridge.

Having owned five budgies in my relatively short life and having spent several years volunteering at a bird store, I feel like I am qualified to comment.

While budgies are quite entertaining, playful, and curious little buggers, they fail to fully connect with their human care-givers, especially in the presence of other little birds. And we’d know–the baby budgies pictured to the left were hand-raised, spoiled-rotten little dudes that we visited literally every day up until they came home with us–even before they developed their pin-feathers, even! We showed up, petted and coddled and generally loved our baby budgies almost from the moment they each hatched–and yes, they were incredibly docile, happy to step up, groom our hair (and eyelashes, which is sort of weird), were generally not nippy, and were overall wonderful birds.

However. In spite of being raised in separate cages and given ample one-on-one attention from both Hubby and myself, they still more tolerated us much moreso than wanted our company. Sure, we were interesting sources of entertainment for two or three minutes, but they were MUCH happier on one of their numerous playstands with each other throughout our house.

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An American and an English budgie–size comparison! …Also where they preferred to land when they’d randomly go spastically flying off.

That lack of connection coupled with the fact that budgies (especially the skinny American ones) are so easily startled makes for one spazzy pet! Winston, our English budgie, is certainly calmer, but put her in a scenario where she is with other American budgies, and the flock mentality takes over–she’ll go flying… or hovering clumsily, as the case may be… just the same as the American ones. So if you’re the kind of person who wants to merely be able to pick a bird up, set him somewhere fun, and watch him play (and quite probably go flying off the other direction five minutes later), then sure–get a budgie (or two or three… flock birds are happier birds!)

But if you want a calm pet who is very interested in a connection with you and won’t go flying off with the slightest brush of the breeze, go for a cockatiel. They crave companionship of all kinds–when we pull Qtip down with us, he’s genuinely curious. Many of the cockatiels we’ve known have been QUITE snuggly, especially any that were hand-raised. Some can be needy, so if you don’t want a bird with the same penchant for attention as a dog or a cat, sure, go the way of budgies… but if you really don’t want a hands-on bird, don’t get a parrot. Both cockatiels and parakeets really need time outside of the cage every day–if you want a bird merely to watch and keep you company,  get  several finches instead. 

Also, did I mention that cockatiels dance? And sing?

Cockatiels are just so lively, curious, and full of personality with a drive and desire to connect with bird and people alike (especially if you keep your little dude in a cage separate from other birds). We’ve truly fallen in love with the species as a whole–they have all the BEST parts of the cockatoo family while forgoing the worsts.

We went with budgies as our first birds because of their coloration and the dry pros/cons articles listed above; while I wouldn’t trade my current English budgie girl for anything, I still wonder what would have happened had we taken home a cockatiel.

We probably would have wound up with ten birds instead of five. xD

Flock Mentality – The Pull of other Parrots & Whistle Training

I now understand why Karen (the former owner of the bird shop where I volunteer) told me to keep my budgies in separate cages where they can’t hear each other.

Flock Mentality: It’s A Thing.

Qtip (our cockatiel) came to us knowing the “Imperial March” and “Zippity Doo Da”. Sure, he’d get stuck on the four march notes like a scratched record we couldn’t quite shut off, and he definitely only really liked the high part of Doo Da and would repeat it infinitely, but hey. It was cute.

Unfortunately, the call of the budgies was too strong. In spite of whistling both  tunes to him every single day we’ve had him, this is all that remains:

Maybe he’s an improv artist…?

Before he came to us, Qtip lived for a time with a lovebird (not necessarily a good pairing, for those of you wondering–love birds are frequently mean to birds of other species), so he adores other birds.

Thus, simply being surrounded by two other budgies (that he can hear) has worked as a memory charm for Qtip, and he has forgotten his tunes.

I know why the caged bird sings, and it’s often because he’s lonely.

Many birds mimic the songs and sounds of humans for one of two reasons: 1. They imprinted on humans and thus think they are one (like in Louie’s case), or 2. They are lonely for the company of ANY other creature (in lieu of another bird) and pick up songs to attempt to communicate.

Hence, the minute Qtip heard other birds singing and chattering, the Obliviate curse was cast, and the more he forgot.

Training your Parrot to Whistle in a Multiple-Bird Household: Isolate them.

Now, this isn’t true of all birds, but if you’re absolutely bent on having a young bird imitate you (and you have more than one), you definitely want to keep them both in separate cages, and where they can’t hear each other during the day.

They can come out for playdates together, but it’s important to spend one-on-one time with each bird and keep them where they can’t hear each other–limit the pull of other parrots.

Personally, we’d rather have Qtip around his friends, so we’re okay with him forgetting what he once knew.