In order to free up some writing time for myself, I am posting things for the summer that were written some time ago for my bird club, North County Aviculturists, and published in the AviNews newsletter. I hope you enjoy them.
A Tale of Two (or more) Budgies by Demi Hungerford
My first attempt at breeding budgerigars (budgies or parakeets) produced two chicks, both males. We named them Percival, or Percy, and Lowell, to whom I gave the silly nickname Lo-lo. Both were a bright blue with just a slight variance in their shades so that we could tell them apart when side-by-side, but not necessarily when not together. However, Lo-lo had a certain way of standing and walking that made him stand out. He had splayed legs, and did not take to any of the cures we tried.
After nearly a year of sharing a cage and spending out time on top of it, a little girl budgie came into our lives. She was a special needs budgie, just like Lo-lo, unable to hold her head up very much, plucked around the neck by clutch mates, and a bit lame. Her name was Daphne and she turned out to be a beautiful blue and white bird. Lo-lo fell in love with her on sight. Percy was interested, but Lo-lo pushed him away and defended his Daphne over and over. Daphne also seemed to prefer Lo-lo to Percy, so out went Percy in to the sunshine of the outside aviary.
Recently, a pizza delivery guy noticed all the birds in our house (really, you’d have to be blind and not very bright to not notice them!) and asked if we would like another budgie. Always room for one more, right? He took our phone number, and arrangements were made. He delivered a small cage containing a little green budgie. “The kids named him Cage, but he just doesn’t do anything but sit there.” Apparently they had expected a home entertainment center for the price of one small bird.
Cage turned out to be a girl. We renamed her Phoebe, in honor of another parrot we are fond of, and watched as she flirted with Lo-lo in the next cage. She also played readily with little bits of yucca wood and other toys, which I found extremely entertaining. Maybe my tastes are just simpler. Lo-lo noticed Phoebe, but he had his Daphne, so it was a romance that could never be. Not wanting to leave Phoebe alone for long, we pulled Percy out of the aviary, and introduced them.
Lightning did not strike twice, but they are tolerating each other. I wonder if she hadn’t seen Lo-lo first, would she have liked Percy better? What is it about Lo-lo that females find so attractive? We may never know. But the good news is, four active budgies, two with special needs, two fairly ordinary, live at our house, happily ever after.
Thoughts on Downsizing by Demi Hungerford
Dedicated to Dom and Ed, and the wonderful people who took them in.
Fly away, Birds of love,
Nest in trees not yet seen.
Somewhere awaits a perfect world,
Find the wide, the cool, the green.
Spread your wings seldom used,
To soar, or climb, or speed.
Use your eyes, send your calls,
To find the home you need.
To keep you here would sooth my heart,
But cruel to you would be.
And at a later date may find
We would sooner the parting see.
So fly away in love and hope,
With joy at brightened sight.
Take my wishes for your own good,
As I bid you a final good night.