Acquired: Bred bird myself
California, United States
Posted Feb 09, 2014
My love affair with Bourke Parakeets occurred more than 15 years ago when a friend and fellow breeder showed me his first "rubino" bourke born into his aviary. It had dark pink all over with some yellow on its wings and red eyes! The bird looked like a creature designed by a great of artist. I was hooked from that day and started my hobby breeding Bourkes and related parakeets from Australia.
Generally, the Bourke is a very hardy bird that can be kept outside. They eat well and are not fussy about cages. They have this wonderful, soothing "chirping" song that the males sing each night that is unlike any other bird song. Another interesting think to note is that when the birds fly, their wings make a neat "whistling sound" . These are gentle birds that get along with others birds and are a favorite with persons aviaries. They are very social creatures and seem to prefer being around many of their own.
The common bourke types are normal (wild) type, the Rosy (variations of mostly pink), the lutino (lots of pink and yellow with red eyes) and the Rubino (more pink all over including the wings and yellow with red eyes). All are very beautiful.
There really are no big negatives! No screeching, they are relatively clean, no health concerns or issues, normally good with other birds. The only slight concern is that during breeding season, the males can be overly protective and ruff up some feathers of other males (not all males are like this). Also, it's wise to learn as much as possible about breeding these birds because some mutation matches can lead to weaker chicks. Others have noted that they are generally not as active as other birds, and to a certain extent, they are mellow and calm most of the day and get more active at night. If you want a bird to play with or entertain you, then Bourkes are not it.
These birds are not typically pets, but are aviary birds. In my opinion, they can be trained but they are harder to train than other birds. Even if you hand feed them, they tend to return to their wild state unless you handle them every day.
All in all, as a hobby breeder who has raised and owned many species of birds, it's easy to why so many Bourke enthusiasts are out there.