Perhaps it was a careless oversight, perhaps they were trained to return your shoulder. Whatever the circumstances, your beloved budgie is taken off out of the window and doesn’t look inclined to make a return! What will become of them as they flit from roofs to treetops and beyond?
Read on to find out more about the life chances of an escaped budgie and if there is any chance at all of recapturing your feathered friend.
Will my budgie survive and what can I do to get him back?
Budgerigar versus the big wide world!
Your quiet and unassuming budgerigar may not have seemed capable of making such a dramatic bid for freedom, but its important to remember that despite the luxurious trappings of domestication, budgies still live wild and free in their natural habitat and will be inclined to exercise their natural instincts and fly away.
It’s easy to forget that hordes of wild budgerigars happily roam the scrublands of Australia and a feral population has even made St Petersberg, Florida a successful long-term home.
However, an escaped budgie or parakeet will face some real-world challenges namely:
- Predation An escaped budgerigar is a highly visible winged mouthful for predators. It is harrowing to think about what a neighborhood cat or fox would do to your precious pet. Flocking of birds of the same species is protective, so the isolation of your bird is likely to make it all the more vulnerable.
- Temperature A pet budgerigar is used to the warmth and comfort of an indoor environment. The ideal temperature for these birds is between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 29 degrees Celsius), so warmth is a must. They may fare well during late spring or summer, but a cold snap or frost without adequate shelter could prove fatal.
- Food Without their usual fare of seeds and grains, a stray budgie will need to stay sharp and find suitable food before hunger and exhaustion sets in. This can work to your advantage as an abundance of food may tempt a stray bird to head on home as we explain below.
- Exhaustion Often an escaped bird will be startled and keep on flying and flying, unwilling to land or shelter anywhere. Budgies that newly find themselves on the wing can quickly become disoriented. Fear and tiredness will set in, and when a budgie lands it will be far more vulnerable to predation or cold.
Is it worth undertaking search and rescue for an escaped budgie?
Yes! All is not lost and even a quick online search will provide you with many accounts of not only owners who have lured back their budgie, but also individuals who have been able to catch and even keep a stray budgie. It seems they do head on home!
Making an attempt to round-up your escapee is the best thing to focus on and if you know the correct steps you may be able to be joyfully reunited with your avian adventurer.
Draw your fugitive budgie back with his familiar favorites.
To woo a flighty budgie back, many owners recommend leaving its cage outside with the door opened and garnished with tantalizing heaps of delectable millet.
Be patient and hold your nerve and the peckish little fella is likely to descend on the spoil and even let himself back into the cage.
Alternatively, you may find a juvenile bird who is less confident at flying may alight on your lawn or window sill. Some birds are tame enough to take a hop onto your finger or shoulder and head back inside, but if you are unsure don’t leave it to chance. Invest in a large net to swoop on your errant pet!
If the absence is prolonged, go ahead and let neighbors know that your budgie is on the loose. Also calling your bird by name may help, or playing the sound of chirping budgies may attract them.
If you manage to recapture your budgie, it is well worth quarantining your pet from other birds and perhaps having a vet look them over as they may have encountered parasites or diseases from wild birds.
Keep them home and don’t let them roam
Perhaps the only way you can be absolutely sure that you won’t have a prison break on your hands is to review how you handle your bird. Letting them fly around the house is great fun but you need to be absolutely sure windows and doors are closed.
Also, it is worth investing time in taming your bird and if possible, training them to come to your finger or shoulder. If you are keen on providing your budgerigar with room to fly, investing in a home aviary may provide greater room for safe and secure flying.
More space may also be used for keeping more than one bird, which is great for providing budgies with the companionship and security they crave.