The various misadventures of my birds: budgies Oliver, Horatio, and Violet, Spencer the green cheek conure, and Beatrix the cockatiel. With pictures. Submit

poyopopo asked:

oh my goodness, horatio is into fingernails too?? my young male has also picked up that habit-- i feel kinda bad for him, because he DOES live with two older females, but they don't give him the light of day in the way he'd like them to! (sometimes they are nice and give him scratchies, though ;-;)

Fingernails must feel like beaks to them!  Horatio has a similar problem, with Violet being TOTALLY uninterested in him, and although he and Oliver are friends, there’s definitely a point where Oliver draws the line—they’ll flirt with each other to an extent, but eventually Oliver puts his foot down (“I really think we should just stay friends, Horatio”) and then Horatio skitters off looking for something else to flirt with/rub his butt on.  Poor Horatio.  :(



highroyalemobutt replied to your post: Yes, good morning, flirty blur.

lmao, I wonder what it is about fingernails… Peeko thinks he needs to chew them and/or try to rip them off. He cracked my friend’s thick acrylic nail, even xD

I think Horatio thinks they’re beaks, and he’s found a…

FELIX IS ALL ABOUT ATTACKING THE FINGERNAILS. He chews them sideways and it REEAAAALLLYYY hurts. Any tips on how I can discourage this? I usually put him down when he does it but I think he is learning that when he does that he gets put down so he does it whenever he wants off of my hand. Help?

Argh, birds are too smart for our own good sometimes.  -_-  Have you tried teaching him “gentle beak”?  This is what I usually do with Spencer when he’s bitey, and it works pretty well (although there are times he’s particularly defiant and needs a time out before he’ll listen to “gentle beak”).  If Felix lets you pet or snuggle with him, gently pet or touch his beak while saying, “Gentle beak” in a praising tone repeatedly, or during times when he’s using his beak in an appropriate manner (like gently preening you), say, “Gentle beak, good bird,” in a praising tone.  This way he comes to associate “gentle beak” with certain beak strengths.  Then, when he’s chewing on your fingernails or when “gentle preening” turns into “I’m going to eat your face” (this happens with Spencer A LOT, lol), stop him (usually with Spencer I just put a finger over or in front of his beak or put my hand between his beak and whatever he’s chewing on), and say, “Gentle beak” in a firm, warning tone (but don’t yell).

It can take a few times before this is effective because he does have to learn the command, so allow for a learning curve, but this has worked really well with Spencer.  (It actually worked right away with Spencer, because even though he didn’t understand the command yet, it confused him enough to stop biting, lol.)  We have a “three strikes” rule with Spencer: he gets three “gentle beak” warnings, and if he’s still biting too hard after that he goes into his cage and gets ignored for five minutes, which he hates.  It might help with Felix if you not only put him down, but also turn your back on him, or not only put him down, but put him in his cage, don’t look at him, and don’t talk to him.  This is what we do when Spencer is on time out—the general idea is to convey the message, “If you can’t play nice, I don’t want to play with you, and you won’t get any of my attention,” and ignoring is supposedly how a parent or sibling would react to a young bird playing too rough, so it’s a tactic birds understand.  If Spencer bites when we get him out, he goes right back in for another five minutes.  Generally, after a time out or two, Spencer will behave himself very well for a week or so (he’s molting and getting into the “terrible twos”, so he’s pretty moody, lol).

highroyalemobutt replied to your post: Yes, good morning, flirty blur.

lmao, I wonder what it is about fingernails… Peeko thinks he needs to chew them and/or try to rip them off. He cracked my friend’s thick acrylic nail, even xD

I think Horatio thinks they’re beaks, and he’s found a five-beaked (or possibly five-headed) female budgie, lol.  He beak-strikes my fingernails the way he does to the other budgies’ beaks, and when he regurgitates to my hands, he does it on or near my fingernails.

Spencer chews on fingernails, too!  I keep mine short because I play the violin as a hobby, but he’s taken chunks of out my partner’s nails before!  Even with my nails he’ll sometimes squeeze them sideways in his beak, like he thinks they’re a big seed and he’s trying to crack them, lol.  (I generally discourage this behavior because it gets pretty uncomfortable pretty quickly!)

Yes, good morning, flirty blur.


heirofcats asked:

Hi! So at the moment I have two parakeets, one boy one girl. They're still young (immature ceres), but lately they've been getting into squawking fits. The noise is loud enough to fill the house and I wanted to know if it is something we could train out of them. It's surprisingly mainly the boy. They were very much in love earlier, but sometimes I see them get into little confrontations. Is there anyway to prevent loud squawking from occurring? Thanks for any help!

Hi!  Unfortunately, budgies can be fairly loud for such small birds!  Boy budgies especially like to make noise, and they do so constantly!  If you watch almost any of the videos I’ve posted, you can hear Oliver and Horatio twittering away in the background.  To a degree, a constantly twittering budgie is a good thing, because a noisy budgie is usually a happy budgie—to a budgie in the wild, silence usually implies that there’s a predator nearby, and thus silence can be distressing for a domestic budgie who still retains that “silence = danger” instinct.

If your budgie is making noises like the ones Horatio is making here, those are just normal boy budgie noises and I don’t think those can be trained out.  Some squawking is also part and parcel of being a bird owner, and if you want to cut down on the amount of squawking, it helps if you can try to pinpoint a cause (although sometimes there IS no cause, and the bird is just squawking for the sake of squawking, lol).  Is he trying to get your hen’s attention?  Is he responding to bird calls or noises happening outside or on TV?  Is he just hyper and trying to burn off some energy (usually this is accompanied by vigorous flapping of wings for no apparent reason)?

If he’s responding to noises outside, or making a single, loud, repetitive chirp over and over (“flock calling”, which can indicate that he’s calling to see if there are other budgies in the area), playing some background noise (music, nature sounds, the TV, etc.) might help mask any outside sounds and/or help him feel secure enough that he doesn’t feel he needs to call for other budgies.  If the squawking is due to him and your girl budgie fighting or squabbling, try to figure out what they might be squabbling about: is there a toy they both want?  Replace it with another toy, or buy another of the same toy so they have a duplicate.  Are they competing with each other for food? Put in another food bowl, preferably on the opposite side of the cage.  (Budgie hens are NOTORIOUS food hogs—when we had Alice, we had to have two food bowls or Horatio would have starved, because she defended that food bowl FEROCIOUSLY.  Even after we started putting in two food bowls, she would wear herself out running back and forth between them, trying to make sure Horatio wasn’t getting any food.)  Unfortunately, in my experience, budgie boys and budgie girls seem to have completely different, largely incompatible, personalities, so some squabbling is normal, and nothing to be concerned about unless one budgie starts plucking the other or makes him/her bleed.

If you can’t narrow down the cause of the squawking, and/or the cause of the squawking isn’t something that can be stopped, there are a few things you can try to get some peace and quiet, although be warned that the peace and quiet is likely temporary when you own two budgies, lol.  In general, the idea is that a busy beak is a quiet beak!

  • Give your budgies a treat.  Millet is a good choice here because it’s relatively low in fat, compared to other seeds.  This should at least buy you some quiet time while they eat.
  • Give them a bath.  You can either provide them with water, or get a clean, brand new spray bottle—one that has never held any sort of chemical or cleaning products—and give them a mist bath by filling the bottle with warm (not hot!) water and spraying it so the mist falls down on your birds.  (Don’t spray your birds directly—most budgies don’t like that.)  After bathing, their instinct should be to either preen themselves dry or take a nap.
  • Give them a chew toy.  My budgies LOVE the Bird Kabob toys and will chew on them for hours.

If none of these work and the squawking is driving you nuts, you can try making a sudden, sharp, loud noise to stop the squawking, by doing something like clapping your hands once loudly or dropping a spoon on a wooden or linoleum floor.  The idea is to startle your budgies so they quiet down in order to try to figure out what the noise was, although I will give the caveat that they don’t stay quiet for long.

As an absolute last resort, if you need extended peace and quiet, you can cover their cage to make them think it’s night.  Please don’t make a habit of covering them, however, unless you’re actually putting them to bed—budgies are effectively blind in the dark, so it’s very boring for them to sit in a dark cage all day.

I hope this helps!  Birds are noisy creatures, so unfortunately you will have to put up with some noise.  If it helps, after awhile I adapted to my budgies’ constant twittering, and now if I DON’T hear it, I get concerned and have to go check on them, lol.  (They’re quiet right now because Violet is preening, Horatio is eating, and Oliver is rubbing his itchy face on the cage bars.)  Let me know if you have any other questions, and good luck with your little ones!  :D

I will never get tired of watching him grabble his own head.  Look how happy he is.  (Look at all those bird flakes on my knee!  So molty.)

Last night, I was messing around on my phone, when straight out of the blue Spencer literally attacked it while growling (“REEEEEE”).  Once I removed the phone to safety, he immediately took its place in my hand.  Apparently he was cold.

Last night, I was messing around on my phone, when straight out of the blue Spencer literally attacked it while growling (“REEEEEE”).  Once I removed the phone to safety, he immediately took its place in my hand.  Apparently he was cold.






(You can tell he was a little perturbed by the camera, but nothing gets between him and his flirting.)