Recently, I got a new bird cage for the ‘tiels! It was most exciting — all the pieces and instructions and my utter inability to put it together for myself. It sat around for a couple weeks while I tried to make my schedule work with someone — anyone — who could lend a hand. A friend whose major is Technology Education invaded my house one day, and helped me out. Best day ever! Afterwards, I was able to decorate for them with all kinds of new, great stuff from Crystal’s Bird Toys and Drs Foster & Smith. As I was setting up shop, the ‘tiels were curious enough to fly on in all by themselves, no persuasion required. I was okay with this — as they are usually notoriously awful at wanting to go back to their cage.
Fast forward two days. I am home after work, and I have already brewed my cup of coffee — and as all the birds well know, that means it’s out-of-cage time. I sigh, and wrap a scarf around my shoulders for two reasons: One, to keep Dapple from preening my necklace, and thus my neck and two, to keep the crap off of my work uniform top — a necessary precaution. I always open the budgie cage first, because that crowd is usually much more cautious. I don’t have to brace myself, because they won’t immediately fly out and land on me. (Or anywhere, really.) They’re careful, unlike the ‘tiels, who greet me like they always do — by hitting me in the face and head with a mix of primaries and zygodactyl feet, excusing it as clumsy landing.
Well, surprise, surprise! All of the budgies flew up and out of their cage all at once in a rush of colors, feathers and cheeping. Guess where they landed? Yup — right on the ‘tiels’ new cage, where they proceeded to break and enter, after a brief political conversation amongst themselves.
These are the same birds who do not hesitate to bite the toes of stray ‘tiels wandering wayward across the top of the budgie cage — and yet here they were where they oughtn’t have ever been. To be fair, the ‘tiel cage is huge; there is more than enough room in there for the two of them. The budgie cage is the next size down, and has always been filled with the best stuff, too. And, relative to body size, their cage is basically a mansion. Well, I suppose for these distinguished feathered critters, that simply will not do. More is better, always.
I’ve noticed that my budgies really do have some sort of political system in place, albeit an inherently wrong one. For instance, the claiming of the ‘tiel cage as their own is not the first instance of this greed. But this is how their world works. You give them anything, it is obviously theirs. You sit and do homework at your desk while they are out? The pen, paper, texts, TV, Wii, coffee, mug, computer and desk itself are theirs. There is no compromise. There are no votes, no vetoes. It simply is and will always be. So, who might be the leader of these budgie politics? Who makes all the decisions? (I’ll give you a hint, it’s certainly not me.) Which feathered politician sits amongst perches proclaiming which misdeeds should be done this day? Fingers would point to Quill, but really — the pioneer of this lifestyle is none other than Gimli. It wasn’t always this way. In another time, in a cage more akin to an apartment than a mansion, the budgies were docile, for the most part — if not sometimes a little more on the screechy side. Land is power, I suppose.
The other day, my friends Carrie and Jeremy came over to visit. Jeremy has never been to my apartment. The last time he had seen them all at once was about one year ago — and even then, King was the new bee. As with most new things, even the guest had to adhere to budgie law. The guest belonged to the budgies — no questions asked. Anyone attempting to say otherwise got dive bombed. I have photographic evidence and scar tissue to prove this.
You’re thinking wrong. Absolutely wrong.
Even parakeets — budgies, as the rest of the world calls them — are parrots. And as I’ve tried to explain to the best of my ability so far, parrots take over your entire life. No — rather, they are your entire life, small or large, loud or… sometimes quiet. You have to roll with the punches, and deal with their quirks — no matter how odd these quirks are.
You can’t yell at a bird. For one, they won’t listen to such negativity, and for two — any loud noise is competition and attention for them. For me, dealing with my feathered politicians — to get them to do something other than strut about all over my guests and belongings, I have to present another area for them to occupy and distract them with millet. Sometimes (rarely) it works, but I’ve gotta say — they enforce their laws. So I suppose this entire post is a PSA for future guests. “Can we play with the birdies?” will quickly turn into “Oh god, it shat on me! GET IT OFF.”
No matter where you go, reader — be aware of the local law. I am finding that budgie law is the most stringent of all.