Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Newest Neighbor

     My day has been filled with psittacines (those are birds that are members of the parrot family...); I greeted the morning and ate breakfast with my Senegal Parrot, Gizmo, I hopped on my bike to care for a friend's beautiful parrot, then I went for a run and came back to a budgie hanging out in the tree in front of my house. Yup, there is a parakeet in the tree outside my home.
     I have been hearing a parakeet, formally known as a budgerigar, outside for the last week now. I thought a neighbor had a bird cage close to their window and we were hearing him, although even our parrot isn't that loud. Then I realized the sound was traveling past our window, often, I had to confirm for myself that a budgie was flying about the block and today I did. These budgies are commonly kept as pets, they are inexpensive, easily obtained, but sometimes owners ignore their intelligence (don't let their size fool you, they are brainy!) and need for serious care. When people get frustrated or tired of their pet bird, sometimes it is thought that the best thing for the bird (and the humans who own it) to just "let it free." Sometimes these birds also simply just escape, open windows, lack of training, and unclipped wings can result in flying the coop.
     These budgies originate from open grassland and scrub in Australia, New York, and Brooklyn at that, is no place for them. They are small and will not be able to survive winter, they need to compete with the natives, and can also fall prey to them, especially as I heard a kestrel outside today. Before considering any pet it is best to learn as much as possible before bringing that animal in your home so that the future is bright for both you and your pet. I have tried contacting and continue to contact people for help, in hopes that this little guy could have a safer place to live with plentiful food, water, and a space that is secure (no predators, hazards, or worries about weather).
     Anyway, this guy is a character and cute to boot:
He is SO HARD TO FIND. He does camouflage pretty well on this London Planetree.
So just to let you know, I live in a 2nd floor apartment. I just opened the screen and am sitting at my window taking pictures. Even this bird is looking at me like I am that crazy Brooklyn lady. Not going to lie, when someone walked by I would try to be a little less creepy, put the camera down, back away from the window-- or maybe it made me that much more creepy....sigh.
Budgie's are typically this color in the wild, but due to their popularity as pets come in a multitude of different color mutations.
Judging from the brown cere, that area above the beak where the nostrils are located, this budgie is most likely a female, males tend to have blue cere or nostrils.
Vocalizing that raspy repeating "buzz" that is typical of these little guys.
Then I kept seeing her tail move up and down, sometimes diapering completely, since she was staying in one place, this was my chance to get outside to take a closer look...
She appears to be excavating, which is budgie breeding behavior... These birds will excavate hollows to lay their eggs in and raise their young.

In Brooklyn we do have resident quaker parrots, also known as monk parakeets, that were accidentally released in the 1960's when bringing them in from JFK to be sold as pets. These birds do well here as they are from temperate regions in Argentina, but this little budgie may need assistance come winter.
Alright, little BK Budgie, welcome to the 'hood!
**Update - 7/24/14
I am incredibly sad to say that I found this girl on the street, presumably struck and killed by a car. I was so upset and I only wish I had been out earlier, in case she had been previously injured, I could have helped her and got her to the animal shelter. I had to remove her from the street, being right outside my home and having to constantly see car after car going over her.
This is a sad and awful reminder that "the wild" is no place for captive animals to roam free or grant freedom to, as they are no longer wanted. Whether urban or rural, the hazards are there, from cars, to predators. Also, sometimes these animals can become nuisance to wildlife native to the area, and can threaten species that actually do belong in the outside habitats. It is a sad and tragic end for this little girl and many other "freed" pets. Remember to do your research before bringing an animal into your home, and keep your current pets safe and secure. I would hate for anyone else to have to experience this!