May 21 2009

Blue Budgie in the Backyard

Published by at 6:15 am under Musings & News

Blue Budgerigar (photo from Wikipedia Commons)For the past three days – maybe longer – there’s been a blue budgie at my backyard bird feeder.  She has a small blue/gray band on her left leg and looks like the bird in this Wikimedia picture except she has pale skin above her beak.  I’ve read that males have blue ceres and females have pale ones, so I am guessing she’s a female.

Budgerigars – nicknamed budgies – are originally from Australia but have been bred in the U.S. as pets for many years.  My backyard budgie is obviously an escapee so I can’t count her on my Life List.  Alas.

Her pet-store origins show.  She is not particularly wary.  Unlike wild birds who constantly watch for predators, she feeds with her head down and barely looks up.  Fortunately she hangs out with a family of mourning doves so someone is always watching, but mourning doves fly faster and wait longer to flush than she should.  Sometimes the doves are frightened of things she doesn’t care about – like grackles – so she ignores them.  Sadly she’ll probably become hawk food unless she’s lucky.

I thought of trying to rescue her but she won’t let me come within six feet before she flies into the trees.  Her owner – if I could find him – might be able to pick her up, but not me.

How do I find out who lost her?  I am writing & calling as many places as I can think of.

In the meantime I’m keeping my feeders filled and hoping the mourning doves warn her of danger.  With a flock to keep her company she’ll enjoy her freedom for a while.

(photo of a male budgie from Wikimedia Commons)

22 responses so far

22 Responses to “Blue Budgie in the Backyard”

  1. Dianeon 21 May 2009 at 7:17 am


    If you could put out a small bird cage with food and water, she might go right into it. That is probably her comfort zone. Possibly a pet store has an old one that you can borrow. I would suggest hanging it on a low branch close to where she feeds. If you are able to capture her, I can offer many ideas on rehoming her or getting her back to her previous caretaker.

    I live in Delaware or would offer to come and help! We do this sort of thing often with these guys. It is fairly successful.

    Good luck.

  2. Michelleon 21 May 2009 at 9:23 am

    Did you try the Greater Pittsburgh Cage Bird Society? They may be able to help. The National Aviary should be able to direct you to their officers.

  3. Kate St. Johnon 21 May 2009 at 9:36 am

    I called the number for the Greater Pittsburgh Caged Bird Society but they disbanded. I am still calling around. I can’t capture it until I have someone available to take it home.

  4. Candyon 21 May 2009 at 9:59 am

    We once caught a escaped budgie with a fishing net. My kids were young and kept it for a pet. It turned out to be the best budgie we ever had.

  5. Dianeon 21 May 2009 at 10:50 am

    This organization does parrot rescue and has a Pittsburgh branch. I would be certain that someone there would house a budgie.
    Parrot Education & Adoption Center (PEAC)

  6. Nathalieon 21 May 2009 at 11:01 am

    You can post your found budgie at the world wide bird lost and found. A great site!

  7. denise kellyon 21 May 2009 at 7:47 pm

    My husband caught a budgie in the backyard with a ball cap. We kept it for a pet till it went to bird heaven.

  8. Kate St. Johnon 21 May 2009 at 8:55 pm

    May 21 evening update:
    Budgie is still doing well in the back yard. She has claimed the bird feeder and defends her right to be there against all comers. She is absolutely unphased by squirrels, pigeons and grackles though all the other small birds give those species a wide berth. I watched her doze on a branch for a while, then resume eating. She chows down with gusto and throws a lot of seed on the ground.

    I talked to someone from Pittsburgh Parrot Rescue (412-761-2268) who said she’d take the bird if I could catch it. Her recommendations on how to catch it: Get a bird cage for keeping her in later or as part of the capture plan. Take the feeders down and put seed *visibly* in the cage, then put the cage in a place she likes (in tree or on ground). Wait for her to go in and close the door. Can also make a seed trail to the cage if it’s on the ground. I might catch a lot more than Budgie with this trick. And as Candy points out, nets also work.

    A friend at work who has parrots can help me early next week. I hope she has a cage.

  9. Dianeon 21 May 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I have an additional suggestion: record the song of a budgie from the internet. Play it to the blue girl. It will most likely get her attention and hopefully into the vicinity of the cage.

    I know this is a longshot but if you or any of your bloggers are heading thru Delaware this weekend, I can meet up with them and donate a small cage to the cause.

    Is she well-flighted?

    Good luck!

  10. Kate St. Johnon 21 May 2009 at 10:53 pm

    She’s getting better at flying but she’s not quick.

  11. Dianeon 21 May 2009 at 11:15 pm

    In my opinion, a net would frighten her away.

  12. Kate St. Johnon 22 May 2009 at 9:37 pm

    May 22 evening:
    Budgie continues to do well and is becoming a fast flyer. This morning I discovered that she also visits a feeding zone down the street. She has now claimed my entire bird feeder as her own and won’t let anyone perch next to her when she’s on it. Between feedings she naps on a branch above the feeder – and then she doesn’t care to defend it. She’s having a great time.

  13. Dianeon 22 May 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Awwww……….she sounds like she is living the life!

  14. Veronica Snyderon 23 May 2009 at 1:35 am

    I have a spare cage and budgie experience if you need someone to take her. I hope that we are done with the cold nights until she is able to be captured!

    If you haven’t already tried them, you can try Craigslist (pets section and lost/found), the Post-Gazette and Western PA Humane Society and Animal Rescue League to see if anyone has reported her lost or to report her found.

  15. Kate St. Johnon 23 May 2009 at 7:27 am

    That’s what I need. I’ll be in touch.

  16. joanneon 16 Jul 2009 at 6:56 am

    budgie landed on my head while i was sitting at my pool..first time that happended i do not know of anyone with a bird so he stayed all day and we bought a cage and he went right in it.We love him ..what kind of things should i be doing? he does seem to be happy thanks


  17. Kate St. Johnon 16 Jul 2009 at 7:13 am

    I’ve never had a pet bird so I’d suggest checking with a vet that treats birds or at a pet store that sells them (privately owned stores will know more than the chain-stores) or I can put you in touch via email with people I know who have budgies. If you want to go the email route, post another comment to let me know.

    p.s. I googled “caring for budgerigars” and found this website: Most of the other websites are about breeding and showing budgies.

  18. Katieon 07 Jun 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Kate, where do you live in Pittsburgh? I didn’t lose a blue budgie, but over the past few days there is one visiting my bird feeder too. I did put out a small bird cage – I have several parrots – but so far no luck. I was just wondering if it is the same one.

  19. Kate St. Johnon 07 Jun 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Katie, I’m sure my neighborhood budgie is gone. She disappeared about a year ago, right about the time a Coopers hawk began frequenting my yard. I suspect she became food for the hawk’s babies last year.

  20. bird.ladyon 15 Mar 2011 at 10:50 pm

    did you ever catch her from bird lady

  21. Kate St. Johnon 16 Mar 2011 at 7:09 am

    Yes, here’s the story:

  22. chickenon 19 Mar 2015 at 10:30 am

    the budgie wasnt really free. you were the one feeding her.

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