Coming home from travel – how do budgies react

I was away for almost a week recently for work and since I went across the country time zone changes made it more difficult than usual to check in on the budgies. They were, of course, totally fine with my husband taking care of them! I did wonder how they would react when I got home though, which is probably a concern for any budgie mom or dad that travels.

For me it usually goes one of two ways. In the first option, I get home super excited to see them and they basically ignore me. Totally devastating!  When this happens it takes a few days for them to get back into the rhythm of spending time with me instead of devoting all their attention to their “papa” who took such good care of them. I don’t think they are mad at me when this happens, they just got used to a different way of doing things and I wasn’t a part of it.

Patrick always reports that they are such good babies when I am gone, MUCH more mellow and relaxed. In terms of our budgie parenting styles, he tends to set better boundaries and expects certain behavior from them, whereas I totally encourage them to be close to me and basically treat me like a human play gym.  I also am much more frequently the purveyor of undeserved treats. 

Fortunately this homecoming was the second variety. I got through the door and they instantly start going nuts with excitement. Way more welcoming! I let them out right away and Toby screamed in my face for about four minutes straight. I’m pretty sure she was simultaneously chewing me out for being gone so long and also telling me how psyched she was that I was finally back.

After I got my “talking to” she settled down to preening my nose and hair.

coming home from travelThe next several days everyone was extremely excitable. Even though they had been well-behaved for Patrick they were super willful now that I was back. Getting them in their cages for bed time or whenever we had to leave the house was a nightmare. I totally get it, all I wanted to do was spend time with them too. I think we were all having some mild separation anxiety.

I did some reflecting while on this trip, my work schedule is changing a bit very soon and I’ll be spending more time at the office. Additionally, I have business trips coming up in six out of the next seven months. In between all of that, a couple of close family members are having surgeries in the next month.

I’m not going to stop writing, but I’m going to start posting once a week instead of two. I think it’s the best way to take some pressure off and make sure I can still put up (hopefully) decent quality content, instead of rushing just to make an arbitrary weekly quota.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

I’m stuck – considering moving the flock to their own room

A while back I made some grand plans about moving the flock to their own room. It seemed like a great way to give them better sleep at night, as well as making their lives safer. It’s true, part of it may have also been so that the humans could use the kitchen at night!

Here’s where I started

what will be the budgie's roomAnd here’s how far I’ve gotten

moving the flockAs you can see, this is definitely not a bird haven! It’s still very much my whole room drying rack. But, I have some very good excuses for why the birds don’t have their own wonderland.

  1. Shortly after I wrote that post Kevin started singing consistently right before bed time, and I got terribly sad thinking about missing that if they were in a room down the hall.
  2. Everyone started a heavy molt and wanted to do nothing but sleep all day and loaf around. It seemed like a bad time to get them excited for anything new, especially a big change that they might find scary.
  3. Toby had a couple of night terrors and I got worried that I wouldn’t hear her in the new room. She tends to have a night terror when there are people still awake so it’s easy to turn up the light a little bit and help her get calmed down.
  4. Patrick pointed out that in that room it will be hard to keep the cages out of the air conditioning flow in summer. Where they are now the vent is directly above their cage and the air flows out so it never hits them directly.
  5. I have a lot of travel coming up for work, and I got worried about them being lonely while I was gone. Patrick takes good care of them, but he doesn’t like to let them out as much as I do. And that’s fine, I don’t expect him to obsess over them like I do. But, I can’t picture him devoting a couple hours a day to hanging out with them in another room, so it’s better if they are in the same room as him not forgetting that humans exist!

I’ll keep you posted, but for now it’s safe to assume the birds are staying put and the humans are still sneaking into the kitchen for a snack every evening.

Budgie morning noise – sleeping in on the weekends

It seems pretty common that flock parents struggle with budgie morning noise. Typically it’s a pure joy to hear the flock trilling away, but at the break of dawn after a late night is another thing entirely! Weirdly, even with the addition of the fantastic singing Kevin to the flock, our mornings are still quiet until at least 8am, if not later.

I think that we’re creating a situation that’s conducive to everyone sleeping until a reasonable hour in a couple of ways.

  1. The parakeets’ cage is not in our bedroom. I don’t recommend placing cages in bedrooms for several reasons, one of which is preserving the quality of your sleep. I bet it’s pretty hard to convince an eager parakeet they should sleep a couple more hours if they see you get up to use the bathroom at 6 in the morning. Keeping cages separate from human sleeping quarters buys you a bit of time before they are aware you’re stirring.
  2. We don’t use a Cage Cover, but all of the windows in the bird zone of the house have Blackout Curtains. Not only do the curtains block almost 100% of the light coming in, but they also help us block drafts. I totally recommend using Blackout Curtains, wherever your birds are. This reminds me that I only have blinds in the room we are moving the birds to, and I really need to get on the ball!

These are the only things I can think of that we do to impact the flock and their likelihood of singing in the early morning hours. So far I don’t think we’ve had a single weekend morning where we’ve been woken up by a pack of singing lunatics. Just this morning I woke Toby up at 8:30am.

I’d love to hear some other tips for keeping mornings calm and sleepy! Or does everyone else like being woken up at the crack of dawn on the weekends and I’m just a lazy bones with equally lazy budgies?

New flock order – there will be singing budgies!

For the two plus years when we only had female budgies I wondered what people were talking about when they complained of budgies that sang loudly all day. Toby and Kelly on their own were largely silent, except bouts of screeching and screaming at each other. Now that Kevin is integrated with the flock I finally know the joy of singing budgies!

When we first picked out Kevin at the pet store he was behind Plexiglas so we couldn’t hear him singing. But, we chose him in part because we could visually tell that he was singing his heart out. Upon bringing him home he made zero sounds for the time he was in quarantine, except for some weak flock calling to the girls. It was so sad, even though we played music for him constantly and budgie noises on YouTube, he was just not having any part of it. I think the poor fellow was so terrified all the time it seemed way too risky.

A couple of weeks after coming out of quarantine Kevin decided it was safe enough to try a little song. For a while every afternoon he would sing for a few minutes, and then presumably wait to see if anything came to murder him. Finding that there was no imminent threat, every day he sang more and more.

I love the sound of Kevin’s singing!  At first he was a bit rusty and quiet, and now he’s very warbly and melodic most of the time, and he loves to run through his whole catalogue of sounds.

The best part is that he’s convincing Toby and Kelly that there’s more to vocalization than screeching and flock calls. They all take part in the singing and even though there’s way more noise overall it’s SO much more pleasant. When they are all three singing their best songs it makes me a little bit misty to think they are a happy flock.

The other side of the coin, of course, is that I finally know what people are talking about when they say their flock’s singing rivals whatever is on the television! We were watching a movie last weekend and they sang along with everything and wanted to be the loudest thing in the room. So far it’s new enough to just be absolutely adorable, but I’m sure that will wear off.

When we had just the girls I tried for ages to get them to learn R2 D2 noises from a YouTube video. It was a total non-starter. I’ve tried again a few times since getting Kevin and shockingly, Kelly has picked up a few noises very quickly. I remember when she first came home that she had a lot more sounds than Toby, she even used to make a car alarm noise. But she definitely ended up limiting her range to whatever Toby would reproduce as well, and all the variety was gone in short order.

I couldn’t be happier with the noisy, happy sounds of our flock of three. I want to get some of it recorded but Kevin is still super camera shy and clams up as soon as he sees it come out. Given a few more weeks I’m sure he’ll be fully adapted to having a camera in his face at all times, just like the rest of them.

One other side effect of the singing is that it’s making me rethink moving them to another room. I feel like I might miss out on a lot of the good stuff, and I’m not sure I’m okay with that, even if it’s selfish in some ways. For now I want to enjoy all the singing all the time!

Dreaming about your budgies

Do you ever wake up and realize you’ve been dreaming about your budgies?  I’ve had a few dreams about mine in the past, and they tend to be surreal or disturbing! Here’s my notable budgie dreams.

  • I was in college and living in a dorm. I’m way out of college so that’s pretty weird right there! Toby is living in my dorm room with me, but she lives in a terrarium, and for some unknown reason she has to live under water. The water is gray, and gross, it looks like something a fish wouldn’t even be happy to swim in. Toby is happy as a clam though and as I’m leaving my dorm room I tell her I’ll be back soon!
  • I’m with Toby and Kelly and I’m in a shopping mall, in the middle of winter, and I have to go outside to get into another section of the mall. I don’t have a travel cage or flight harnesses, the birds are just on my shoulders, which is totally freaking me out being in public. In waking life I’m pleased that this strikes me as dangerous even in a dream. The parakeets keep flying off short distances and returning to me and I’m delighted that they are so well-trained (haha). Then before I walk out of the mall I give them a talking to and tell them they have to stay with me and can’t fly off. Upon walking outside they totally stick to me like glue and we make it to the next building!  Clearly a crazy dream, if either one of them actually got outside I know they would be gone in a heartbeat.
  • My last dream was about Kevin. My favorite band is America (they perform the song “Horse with no Name”). In my dream Kevin came walking into the living room on the floor and started singing an American song!  Not like budgie-warbling, he was literally singing the lyrics along with the music. In the dream, like in real life, he doesn’t say any human words at all, and I was in total awe.

I think that was a good silly Kevin dream. I’d love to hear what your budgie dreams have been like? Has anybody ever flown with their flock in a dream?  Please leave a comment or let me know on Facebook!