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Many bird lovers adore owning budgies. The playful, happy birds brighten up people’s lives with their exuberant antics.
Budgies are capable of talking if they are trained properly. However, even those that do not mimic human speech have a wide repertoire of noises they deploy to communicate.
Budgies produce a melodious cacophony of noise, of which the most frequent are chirps. If you have a budgie, chances are that it has already treated your ears to its wide variety of chirps.
However, those chirps can be confusing if you don’t know what they mean. Here is how to interpret your budgie’s vocalizations and provide them with the best care possible.
What Are Budgies?
A budgie is a small bird that belongs to the parrot family. Americans probably know them under the name of parakeets, although the name budgie or budgerigar is more common in other parts of the world. Other countries use the term “budgie” to differentiate between these small birds and larger species of parakeets.
Budgies are tiny, particularly compared to other parrots. Domesticated budgies are usually seven to eight inches long while wild budgies in Australia can be even smaller.
Naturally, budgies are green and yellow. However, breeders for the pet trade have evolved blue and white varieties.
For a small bird, the budgie’s personality certainly packs a punch. They easily pick up on human speech, can remember large vocabularies, and have amusingly gravelly voices for such a small bird.
Budgies have big personalities and will sometimes require lots of work like other birds that need dedicated care and stimulation. However, the work is worth it when you hear their happy chirps and speech.
Why Budgies Chirp
Although many pet owners prize budgies because of their ability to mimic human speech, these tiny birds have a language all of their own that includes a variety of sounds. Chirps are the most common budgie vocalization.
Male budgies are louder than female budgies because, in nature, that is how they attract a mate. However, female budgies are also capable of talking your ear off!
If your budgie chirps a lot, don’t worry! Chirping is how budgies express that they are happy and excited, so that means that your budgie is very happy with its life with you.
A few different scenarios can set off chirping from your budgie. If it hasn’t seen you in a while (which for the bird, can even mean a few minutes), chirping can be a sign that it’s happy to see you. Budgies also chirp when they’re excited about certain parts of their routine, such as meals or grooming.
Sometimes, budgies like to chirp at random just to show that they’re happy. You may hear this particularly if your budgie has a feathered friend since they are very social creatures.
Budgies are used to communicating with their fellow birds using chirps, so naturally, they will try that same method of communication with you, their featherless friend. Constant chirping is your budgie’s way of reminding you where it is and of reassuring you that it is okay.
Finally, many budgies like to chirp along to the radio or even mimic the melodies on their own. If you hear melodic chirping often, congratulations on your melodic little songbird!
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Chirping?
Chirping is normally the way that budgies express happiness. However, if you hear your birds chirping very often, that could be a sign that something is amiss.
If you notice that your budgie is chirping all the time, particularly whenever you enter its room, that could be a sign that the budgie is lonely and needs attention. Budgies are very social birds and chirping is how they communicate that they want company.
Many budgies get louder when there are other noises in the room, such as radio or television. By nature, they are conditioned to try to compete with noise around them to communicate with other birds so don’t be surprised if your budgie tries to drown out your TV show.
If your budgie combines chirps with other noises such as squawks and maybe even screams, it is trying to tell you that it is upset about something. Check if something is amiss in its environment, such as a loud noise or not enough water.
Other Budgie Noises
Besides chirps, budgies produce a variety of other noises.
Singing and chattering are other ways that budgies communicate that they are happy. Male budgies in particular chatter a lot to flirt with other budgies, humans, or even their own reflection.
Budgies communicate that they are upset through loud squawks. A squawking budgie is afraid of something in its environment or upset (hormonal hen birds often produce this noise). Reassure your squawking budgie by addressing whatever made it upset and by talking to it in a soothing voice.
Chiding, or hissing noises, are other sounds upset budgies produce. This isn’t a sign that it’s afraid, more that it’s annoyed with another budgie that is intruding on its space.
Every budgie has a different repertoire of sounds, so take some time to get to know your little bird. You may notice the crackling sound that means it is getting ready for bed, its habit of repeating funny noises from the environment, or even its favorite musical genre.
How to Make Your Budgie Happy
Regular chirping is a sign that your budgie is happy. If you notice that your bird is uncharacteristically silent or is chirping all the time, that could be a sign that it is unhappy.
Budgies are intelligent, highly social birds, which means that they need plenty of excitement and stimulation. Be sure to incorporate regular playtime with your budgie—chances are, it is very attached to you and misses you if you’re away.
Even if you don’t have time to play with your budgie for hours, just taking it with you as you clean the house or letting it perch on your shoulder while you watch TV will keep your attached little friend happy.
When you can’t play with your budgie, make sure that it has enough stimulation to keep itself entertained. Your budgie’s cage should have plenty of toys that you switch out every few weeks to keep things fresh. You can even move the cage to be near a window or a radio, which will keep the budgie entertained.
Finally, budgies are naturally social animals that live in large flocks in the wild. Your budgie may be lonely by itself, so try getting another budgie (but be careful when getting two females as they can be territorial).
Living with Budgie Noise
Budgie noises are adorable but after the fifth straight hour of nonstop chirping, it will get annoying. Luckily, these brilliant birds can be trained to minimize their noises.
Most budgies chirp and scream for attention. By ignoring your budgie when it is screaming but rewarding it with pets and playtime when it is quiet, you condition the bird to realize that being quiet will get it what it wants.
If you really need your budgie to calm down, for example, if it is squawking loudly or it is time for bed, cover its cage with a dark cloth. This will signal to the budgie that it is time to go to bed and that it is safe, which should hopefully stop the noise.
Don’t punish your budgie with reprimands or taking away playtime because they don’t understand those types of punishment. You also cannot limit them from chirping altogether.
By their nature, budgies need to have designated hours when they can be loud, particularly early in the morning, around noon, before going to bed, and when they are around other budgies. Expecting your budgie to be quiet all the time will lead to disappointment for you and a depressed bird that tries to go against its nature to please you but is prevented from socializing.
By creating a balance between chirping and designated quiet times, you can create a happy environment for your budgie and a peaceful environment for your ears.
Most budgies maintain a running commentary of chirps and chatter throughout the day. This is your budgie’s way of communicating with you and sharing that they are happy.
If you notice that your budgie’s chirps become more urgent or evolve into squawks and hisses, that is a sign that it is upset. It may want attention from you or be trying to tell you that something is wrong, for example, if you forgot to refill its food bowl or if its feathery companion is being annoying.
Sometimes, your budgie’s constant noise can get annoying. By not rewarding its excess noise with attention and creating designated quiet hours during bedtime while still allowing your budgie to chirp when it wants to socialize, the two of you can coexist.
Budgies are lovely, intelligent birds that need plenty of stimulation, whether that comes in the form of toys, your attention, or the companionship of another budgie. Take care of your budgie’s needs and you’ll be rewarded with the melodic sounds of their happiness.