taming our male budgie

Taming Kevin – two steps forward and one back

From the start, Kevin has been a hard sell as far as human companionship is concerned. Once he was introduced to Toby and Kelly we humans hung back for a bit. It seemed more important that he get along well with the budgies and find his sweet spot in the bird flock, so taming our male budgie was put on the back burner.

Kevin has done so well fitting in with our girl budgies. It took some time for them to stop trying to bite his head, but now he’s got this great vibe going. I’m not sure how he negotiated it, but they both seem to respect him without requiring much violence at all. It’s rare to see him fight with anyone, but he somehow manages to get his way. And he’s so happy most of the time! He sings all day and tries to feeds the girls, even though they are not having it.

He has intense conversations with inanimate objects, sings along to the radio and tv (his favorite show is Intervention), loves taking baths and trying new foods. Now that he’s been through a big molt he has almost all his flight feathers back and he is definitely the fastest flyer of all three. Sometimes he even has to take extra loops to slow down before landing. Kevin is basically the perfect pet parakeet, except he thinks that his human family is not to be trusted!

Patrick tried working with Kevin pretty intensely when he was in quarantine to no avail. I had hoped that once Kevin saw that Toby and Kelly basically treat me like a human play gym he would loosen up a little bit. And he has, but it is taking months.

Kevin will step up when asked, and then tends to look for his first chance to escape. We’ll go on for weeks of me asking him to step up a few times a day and then all of a sudden he’ll land on my shoulder, or randomly decide to beak my nose or glasses. I, of course, get excited thinking we’ve made a break through, and then he goes back to alternately ignoring me or acting like I’m very suspicious!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled he’s happy, and I’m sure I should be even more thrilled to have such a polite and shy young man, as a counter point to my crazy, brash girls. But, I do look forward to building a bond with Kevin and showing him how cool his human flock can be.

I’m grateful that these little guys have a nice long life span; I should have a lot of years to make friends. Lately I’ve been working with him much more and using my old standby Millet. It’s a bit square one as far as taming goes, but hey, whatever works! I hope that continuing to have him associate me with the possibility of treats will eventually unlock a bit more trust.

I am constantly counseling patience when budgie owners express frustration with their standoffish birds. It’s hard to take my own advice, but I’m confident that if I keep on the steady treat-giving path we’ll get there.

How do you not want to be friends with this guy?

2 thoughts on “Taming Kevin – two steps forward and one back”

  1. A lot of budgies just don’t like to be handled. Many of ours will not let us touch them. But I know they are attached to us and that we have a very special place in their flock. Each bird has such a unique personality. I have learned over time that it’s best to try and support each bird as an individual rather than impose my ways, wishes, and preferences on them too much. That’s been our best pathway to ensuring their happiness, and that’s my ultimate goal.

    1. None of mine like to be touched, that’s for sure! When I talk about “taming” I guess I should qualify the term at the outset. It’s not about what I want to do with Kevin, it’s about feeling like he’s comfortable with his humans and that we do have some kind of an individual relationship with him.

      I’m sure that it’s not intended, and it’s so hard to read tone in text, but I feel a little bit of judgment in your comment. So, I want to assure you that we would never make Kevin do anything that would harm him emotionally, and I absolutely never touch him. I do, however, work on ways to make him want to interact with me.

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