The budgie, one of the smallest of the parrot species, occupies a big spot in the hearts of bird lovers all over the world. They are the birds you are most likely to see in pet stores making them the most commonly kept parrot in captivity.
They are colorful and friendly and quiet enough to make great apartment birds. Their cages do not take up the entire living room or empty out the savings account. For many people, a budgie was a first bird and perhaps the one responsible for your life-long love affair with all parrot species.
Budgies have gained much notoriety for their accomplishments. It is a tiny blue budgie named Puck that has the largest documented parrot vocabulary on record (in the 1995 Guinness Book Of World Records) with 1,728 words and phrases. It is a title most parrot aficionados would have attributed to the African grey.
Being very intelligent, the budgie is highly trainable, and like all parrots, it NEEDS to be trained. While they aren’t capable of landing a bite that will send you to the hospital for stitches and aren’t loud enough to damage your hearing (although for what they lack in volume they can more than make up for in persistence), your bird has one huge advantage over you: it can fly.
Budgies are very adept fliers. They have the speed and maneuverability that is to be expected for a bird of their size, and they are natural masters at evading human hands. Even with the best of intentions, our huge hands reach into cages to “snatch up” little birds – or put them back in before they are ready to go.
So what do you suppose happens when you have a budgie with advanced flight skills that is afraid your hands? If you guessed that you would spend the next three hours trying corner and capture your bird to get it back in the cage, you are correct. Also, this misadventure will give your tiny bird even more reason to fear your big hands.
Frustratingly, the first thing many people do is reach for the scissors to clip the wings without any consideration to the psychological damage that occurs when you strip away a bird’s main method of mobility. A bird that cannot fly is left feeling vulnerable and this will only add to his mounting fears.
Instead of modifying your bird’s wings, modify your bird’s behavior by taking steps to regain trust. It is never too late to start working towards the relationship you always wanted with your budgie.
Target training will take away your need to chase your budgie, capture it and force it back into the cage. A trained budgie will fly back to you on cue in exchange for a food or praise reward. A trained budgie has learned that hands are bringers of treats and will no longer try avoid yours.