By nature, budgies are fearful creatures. They are small, fragile, and their evolution in the wild has taught them there are many threats and predators to be wary of. These survival in the wild instincts carry on, even in caged pet birds, who most likely have never known a “wild” moment in their lives. What may seem harmless and insignificant in our eyes, could pose a huge threat or fear to your budgie, who sees things from a much different (and much smaller) perspective.
Here, you will learn about 10 things that can scare your budgie, as well as how to spot the signs your budgie is afraid of something, and what you can do to help alleviate those fears. If you can anticipate the things that may cause them stress beforehand, you can arm yourself with ways to help minimize these fears, resulting in a much happier, easy-going pet budgie!
1. Other Animals and Pets
In the wild, there are a variety of larger animals budgies need fear, including other types of bigger birds such as hawks, owls and eagles. But they aren’t the only ones. Large snakes like boa constrictors and pythons, even monkeys, may all find the budgie to be a tasty snack. You can see why the budgie has developed an innate instinct to fear larger animals. This includes indoor ones, as well. Cats are particularly known to pose a threat, and budgies may realize this.
What to do? Besides the protection of their cage, you are your budgie’s first line of defense against harmful predators and situations. Make sure to keep their cage out of reach of any other curious (and potentially deadly) pets who may share your home. If you take your budgie outside for fresh air (in their cage of course), never leave them unsupervised.
2. Other Humans
Remember how long it took your new budgie to get used to you? Quite a while, I’ll bet. And if you’re a new, first-time budgie owner, I’ll also bet you’re quickly realizing just how long a process getting them to trust you and not be frightened of you can be. To them, (at least at first) you’re just another big animal who could be out to eat them! So when a new person comes in your home, it’s likely your budgie will revert back to a feeling of distrust toward the newcomer.
What to do? Unfortunately, the only remedy for this fear is time. If the new person is someone who visits the home a lot, eventually your budgie will learn to trust them over time, just like they do (or will, if you haven’t had them long) with you.
Budgies aren’t exactly the most adaptable of creatures as it can take them a while to warm up to things. So sudden changes inside or around their cage can scare or freak them out. Remember, their first instinct is that something might be out to harm them. If you’ve placed something new in or around their cage, understand they’ll need time to come to the conclusion that whatever it is poses them no threat and they are safe.
What to do? If you are placing something new inside or around the cage, talk very softly and soothingly to your budgie as you do it. The calm in your voice may help them to relax and trust a little quicker that the object is not something they need fear. If it’s specifically something for inside the cage, like a new toy, you may even want to start out by letting your budgie see you playing with the toy yourself. After a while, you can place it on the outside of the cage to get them even more familiar with it before finally putting it inside.
Your hands can be terrifying for your budgie, especially if they are new to your home. You’d be scared too if a huge hand suddenly came in your house trying to touch or grab at you! While some may learn to trust you faster than others, it’s a process for your budgie to understand you are their friend and not there to harm them in any way. Getting them to allow you to touch them or step up onto your hand is a huge step for them and one that is necessary to ease their fear and distrust of you.
What to do? Start by placing your hand inside the cage for small periods of time each day, not to touch your budgie, but to show them your hand isn’t there to hurt them. Eventually, work your hand closer and closer, until they trust you enough to let them touch your or perch on your finger. You can read more about how to hand tame your budgie by checking out THIS post about building a bond with your budgie (earning trust is a huge part of that!)
5. Loud Noises
This may apply to many pets and animals (and humans!) but loud noises can also scare your budgie. Things like slammed doors, sirens, shouting, or smoke alarms can all cause your poor budgie stress.
What to do? Unfortunately, there’s not always a whole lot you can do to prevent loud noises, especially the ones that come from outside. Just do your best to keep the TV’s volume from getting too high, try not to shout a lot around your budgie’s cage, and be ready with a towel or something to fan the smoke away from the smoke detector if you’re prone to making it go off while cooking!
How can you tell your budgie is scared or nervous?
Some signs that your budgie may be nervous or afraid of something include:
- Heavy breathing/panting
- Flapping or flying around the cage like crazy
- Wide eyes and sleek feathers
- Watery droppings
- Continuous, shrill screeching/chirping
- Feather plucking
If you notice any of these signs, think a moment and determine what could be causing your budgie fear or stress. Remember, you are the key to your budgie’s safety, health and happiness. Treat your budgie well and you’re sure to have a sweet, happy companion for many years to come!
Enjoy your feathered friend, and as always, here’s to finding your budgie bliss!