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My Love Affair with Budgies

By Patricia Gideon

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Author’s Dedication:

Shortly before this article was published, Jasmine flew peacefully over the rainbow bridge. She was the sweetest little girl budgie I ever knew and I will miss her every day. I was so fortunate to have met her and to have her share her time with me and the rest of the flock. She will be buried in our garden next to her mate, Hemingway.  I hope they are flying together now, unhindered by cage bars or illness or pain.  And I hope someday to see them again.  I will love you always my little sunny-day budgie girl.

 Calaway, the "spider budgie"

“So, you’re interested in being a species coordinator…what do you know about budgies?” asked Mickaboo’s Chief Executive Officer and Budgie Coordinator.  “Well, nothing really” I replied.  After a long pause, she said, “that’s okay … you can learn.”  And so began my volunteer career at Mickaboo.

I’m not a stranger to birds.  In fact, my love affair with birds began almost 30 years ago with my first bird Peepers, a beautiful lutino cockatiel.  I loved him more than I thought it was possible to love anything or anybody and even broke up with a boyfriend who asked me to choose between him and the bird.  (I definitely made the right choice!)  The day Peepers died I went directly to the local bird store (before I knew about Mickaboo of course), tears streaming down my face, because I couldn’t stand the emptiness of a home without a feathered roommate. 

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That same day I came home with Miss Buddy, a wild-caught white capped Pionus who chose me that day and shared my life for 23 years.  During our last few months together (she was dying of cancer), I promised her that, because she had given me so much joy over those 23 years, I would find a way to do something to help her feathered cousins and honor her memory. 

Jasmine, Blur and Callaway

Little did I know that I was about to embark on one of the most challenging, rewarding, heartbreaking, frustrating, and fulfilling adventures of my life.  And what I REALLY didn’t know was how much I would fall in love with these little feathered rascals called budgies.

When I told the Budgie Coordinator that I didn’t know anything about budgies, I wasn’t kidding.  I knew about cockatiels, caiques, conures and pionus but nothing about budgies.  Sure, I might have seen some budgies on the BBC’s wonderful series “The Life of Birds.”  And I’d probably seen them at a pet store once or twice, but that was pretty much it.  I suspect I had the same idea about budgies that many people have – they’re cute but, they’re so small, how engaging could they possibly be?  I was soon to find out the answer – WAY more than I could ever possibly have imagined!

Mickaboo’s species coordinators are responsible for everything around a particular bird type (e.g. cockatiels, budgies, conures).  Species coordinators manage the details around: taking in new foster birds, working with our veterinary advisors and foster parents to rehabilitate our foster birds (physically and socially), ensuring birds go to an appropriate foster home, shepherding potential adopters or foster parents through Mickaboo’s approval process, matching potential adopters to our birds available for adoption, and providing species-specific advice to foster parents and adopters. It’s a big job!  And like all Mickaboo positions, every species coordinator is an unpaid volunteer.

Being the new Budgie Co-Coordinator, I figured I should adopt a couple of budgies so that I could learn something about them.  So, I adopted two boys and two girls because my mentor said that four budgies was the perfect number and a mixed flock was the most fun.  She was right.  I have never laughed so hard in my life as I have while watching those budgies.  I call it “Budgie TV” - part Laugh-In, part Sopranos, part Discovery Channel, all wrapped into little bundles of feathers with huge attitudes and even bigger appetites.  I’ve fallen so in love with these little guys and gals that I’ve managed to fill almost all the rooms in my house with their joyful chirping. 

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So what about budgies has me so smitten?  Well, first and foremost there’s the opportunity to watch them as a flock.  To see them cuddling, caring for one another, arguing over the hot topic of the minute (which usually involves one of several identical food bowls aka the “budgie dish dance”, or bickering over who gets the preferred perching location) or just flitting around in their flight cage is magical.  Then of course there is their intelligence, their humor and their enormous personalities.


Until I met my budgies, I would never have thought that they would have such unique personalities. There’s Norway, Mr. Niceguy, the sweetest, most good-natured bird I’ve ever met; Tazmine, the budgie equivalent of most Goldie Hawn characters – wide-eyed, flirtatious, and completely ditzy; Jasmine, my sweet little budgie diva; Phoebe aka Budgzilla; Little Bit, the closet troublemaker; Blur fka Bluebelle, budgie of perpetual motion and vanquisher of speeding cars; Twist the helicopter budgie and secret lover of head scritches; Calaway, the spider budgie; Dori, named after the character in Finding Nemo and who once had me laughing so hard on the way to the vet that I had to pull the car off the road; Rambito, rough and tumble budgie and Dori’s partner in crime; and my dear departed Hemingway, poet budgie and “real deal”. 

Why do I love budgies?  Although I didn’t know what he meant at the time, I do now and Hemingway was right.  Budgies really are the real deal.

(Editor’s note: You can see Mickaboo’s many budgies available for adoption online.  To sign up for a spot on a species coordinator team, email us at