Thursday, July 30, 2009

Parrots vs. Parakeets...

Another fine treatise by Laurel Rockefeller, this time on the subject of budgies:

... having a budgerigar is a rewarding experience. But because budgies are parrots, keeping them is no less a responsibility than keeping a cockatiel, an Alexandrine parakeet, a conure, a blue and gold macaw, or an umbrella cockatoo. With a lifespan of over 10 years, budgerigars are not for those with a short attention span like very young children or those who are uncertain if they are willing or able to make aviculture their long term investment of time, energy, and money. Parrots take a lot of patience. Even tiny parrots like budgies take a willingness to love and accept them when they destroy potentially expensive and precious belongings. Such destructiveness can be refocused from your favorite furniture to a wide range of size-appropriate toys designed for budgies and other small parrots that will engage them mentally and keep their beaks busy where you want them.

With proper caging, perches, and socialization from us and other birds in their flocks, and of course plenty of interaction outside of their cages, budgerigars make exceptional companions. It is no wonder that they remain our favorite companion bird. Yet while we love to love budgies, it is always important to treat them kindly and responsibly and always respect them as living beings. The tragedy of budgies is that we sell them for so little and therefore cheapen their lives so much. What people pay a lot for, they tend to treasure more and give greater pause to buying. This examiner has also watched people at a Brooklyn petland and noticed how much price shapes the perceptions of those looking at the birds in terms of the types of care required and difficulty in caring for the bird. Always the African greys and Umbrella cockatoos were assumed harder just because of price, even though the selection usually included cockatiels (which share most of the same behavioral traits as the umbrellas in terms of training and temperament), at least one species of conure, and Quaker parakeets along with the budgies. The cockatiels were assumed easier to care for than the Quakers just because they were often lower priced even though the cockatiels, as cockatoos, are driven by drama rewards and have that extra challenge in their training.

In other words, price has nothing to do with how to care for your parrot, yet our society keeps making assumptions about birds based on money.

Read the entire article: Budgerigars 101: Tips for caring for America's parakeet.

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