Acquired: Pet store
Kent, United Kingdom
Posted Jun 05, 2013
We have had several budgies over the years, but one of the most memorable was Mr Magoo, who had only one eye. Like the myopic cartoon character, after which he was named, he was somewhat compromised in the sight department, though he never let such trivialities get in the way of a fine adventure. We were living in South London at the time he came into our lives, on the delightfully named, Totterdown Street in the equally delightfully named Tooting. I had taken my two young sons shopping in the market and, of course, a stop-off at the pet shop was de rigueur. As usual, the owner, a lugubrious looking Asian, rolled his eyes upon our entrance. 'Always, you come for look,' he moaned. 'Never buy. Why you are not going to the zoo?!' His luck was in. As we circulated, the various cages, making kissy noises at the rabbits and hamsters, and 'aw-ing' at the love birds canoodling on their perches, our attention was drawn to a beautiful, blue budgie, who had been sentenced to solitary confinement. Slowly he swung back and forth on his swing, showing a distinct lack of enthusiasm. 'He is not popular,' Mr Lugubrious informed us. 'The other birds, they are pecking his eye out.' It was true. Mr Magoo, as we instantly named him, was blind in one eye. Of course, nothing would do my sons, but that we mount an immediate rescue mission and so, loaded up with a new cage, bird seed, a state of the art perch, swing with mirror and bell, and a choice bit of cuttlefish bone, Mr Magoo came home to live with us. 'A zoo,' I said acerbically, as we vacated the pet shop, 'would have been a whole lot cheaper!' In fact, the memories we have of Mr Magoo are priceless and I can still see my youngest son, tongue poked out in concentration, carefully carrying the little cardboard bird box home, whilst his brother staggered manfully under the weight of the cage.
Mr Magoo had no intention of going gently into his cage, though. Staging a Houdini, he fluttered awkwardly round the room, before perching on the curtain rail, where he remained for several hours, immune to the children's pleadings to come down. When they had given up and gone off to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he fluttered down and gently landed on my head. For the next three years, I became his favourite mode of transport. He would hop from cage to finger, finger to shoulder and from thence to the top of my head. He was particularly keen on my wearing my hair up, since he could nestle in and watch the world go by, or even take the occasional nap. Sometimes, he would chatter madly, neck extended, head bobbing, giving the children a right telling off.
Sadly, Mr Magoo came to an unfortunate end, when he somehow managed to get his head stuck in his water trough and drowned. He was just a little thing, a scrap, light as air, but he had all the personality and bossiness of a king. We mourned his passing.
Budgies make delightful pets and can fit in even the smallest of homes. After the initial outlay, cage etc., which isn't that expensive , toys, food etc., the upkeep is virtually nothing. They can be great company, as in the case of Mr Magoo. I have never heard one speak properly, but they can learn to imitate noises and can get quite boisterous at times. The solution; pop them in their cage and throw a cover over it.
An easy way of telling the sex of a budgie is to check the 'cere', the hard ridge above its beak. An adult male will have a blue cere, and a female, white with a hint of blue.
A budgie is a fragile creature, so always handle gently in cupped-hands. Be careful not to over-handle it at first. They need time to acclimatise and too much handling can be traumatic, leading to shock, which can result in death.