Budgie in the Wetlands

Top Photo: Budgerigar settles on railing of floating walkway in wetlands.

In their native land of Australia and in their native habitat of arid scrub, grassland and open woods, budgerigars (budgies) are green and yellow with black barring on their head, nape, back and wing coverts. The tail is blue.

Here, they can be nearly any color from white to deep blue to yellow, with many combinations and variations in between. The pet trade has seen to those many colors and patterns appearing in the birds’ plumage. They are a very popular cage bird and have been bred for variety.

Every few years a budgie shows up somewhere on our campus.

Budgerigar in wetlands (12.26.13).

The relatively “wild” museum grounds is surrounded by neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are full of people and budgies being such popular (and relatively cheap) pets, we tend to attract our share of escapees. People leave their window open or prop open the doors on mild winter days and the birds take a trip around the hood. Someone forgets to close the cage door while setting the cage out on the deck for the afternoon, the bird goes exploring.

Over the past 16 years here I’ve personally seen about 5 budgies at the museum throughout the seasons. I know of more. Most are the usual blue, green or yellow and green. The one that flew in today was nearly all canary yellow. It had some green patches on the body, very faint barring on the head and a handful of wing covert feathers that were green with at least some black barring.

Canary yellow and green budgie in wetlands (6.27.24).

I took a few shots of the bird, then tested how close it would let me approach. I was able to touch the tail of the bird and could have easily picked it up, but didn’t.

An hour later, as I made another circuit around the outdoor loop through Explore the Wild, and onto the floating walkway over the wetlands, the bird was gone. I’ve heard that most budgies that wander, never return. I wish the bird luck.

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