Posted Jan 28, 2015
Owning a parakeet was one of the worst pet experiences of my life, and I have owned or fostered a lot of difficult pets.
Luke Skywalker the Angry Parakeet came from a friend who was being transferred overseas. I had always thought the little birds were charming and I had room and a safe space to keep Little Luke so I decided to take him on. My friend assured me that he was pretty low key as far as birds go and gave me a book on Parakeets to help me get acquainted.
Tip #1: A book is not always enough.
To start with, Luke the Angry Parakeet didn't just have a little bit of aggression, he had a full on attitude problem. At first I thought it was a transitional thing, moving homes can be stressful for any animal but the behavior continued. Cleaning his cage was an experience that made me grit my teeth and hope for the best. He would bite and nip at you if you came near him to add more food or clean the cage and he would occasionally charge the cage bars and make this screechy, screamy sound at random points throughout the day and night. To say he had a bit of personality would be an understatement.
Tip #2 Birds can bite and it still hurts even when they are small.
I consulted books, the internet, the vet, the pet store bird specialist and none of the suggestions I gleaned were remotely helpful in making Luke Skywalker the Angry Parakeet less angry or less screechy. We tried a larger cage, moving the cage to the sunniest part of the house, adjusting the height of the cage, putting the cage in a quieter part of the house, and provided any number of bird entertainment options to help him be happy and minimize stress levels. People were tiptoeing around the bird cage. We probably spent close to $200 trying to make Luke into a happy bird.
The longer he lived with us, the louder he got. It got to the point where we couldn't handle it any longer and we gave him to our vet tech who was an experienced bird owner. From what she told us later, his behavior and demeanor did not improve much in her home. :(
Luke was a beautiful bird with a big personality but he was NOT the right fit for us. I know families that have had parakeets with young children and things went great. We are not bird people. We appreciate birds. We think they are beautiful, but alas, we are not really ready to commit to owning another one. We are still trying to recover from Luke Skywalker the Angry Parakeet.
A bird, like any pet, is a big responsibility. You should be sure to do your research prior to acquiring a pet and make a point to talk with an experienced bird owner before getting a bird. An experienced bird owner can really help you ascertain which kind of bird, if any, would be a good option for you. If you get a parakeet, I hope it's happy and not the Darth Vader to my Angry Luke. :)
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons and www.birdphotos.com