When Life Hands You Parakeets…

A month ago, a dear friend asked whether I’d be interested in helping her out.  Her sister, working at a summer camp in Massachusetts, had found a lost parakeet down by the pool.  She’d tried locating its owner for weeks, to no avail, and was trying to re-home it.  My friend was visiting her at the camp for a few days and had immediately thought of me.  She sent a picture of the parakeet and – NO PRESSURE!!! – but I’d get first dibs if I *was* interested.


A tiny white bird in need of love.  AND since we’d lost four pets in as many months – not just Kiwi, but our bearded dragon Chester, pet rabbit Puff, and last remaining chicken Ginger as well – there was a WHOLE lotta room at the inn.  Hmmm..  The idea of a new friend to help heal the gaping potholes in our hearts sounded super sweet.  But.. but.. but…??

I showed the photo to my family just to gauge interest.  The level ranged from encouraging to ecstatic.  The bird didn’t yet have a name beyond chirpy or birdbrain.  My younger daughter suggested ‘Sushi’ and from that moment I knew it was a done deal.  CUTEST NAME EVER!

My friend arrived with Sushi within days and my heart was filled with JOY.  A new bird in the house!  I was SOOOO HAPPY!!!  Except that Sushi didn’t seem all that thrilled.  I mean he/she was eating, and chewing on the mirror, and kind of looking at us, occasionally, but really he/she seemed nervous.  And strangely quiet.  Was Sushi sad?  Lonely?  Scared?  ALL OF THE ABOVE??!!  Instead of filling me with peace, I felt unsettled and worried.  I googled and read all about parakeets.  (Many thanks to those who’ve shared their ‘keet knowledge!)

Because I’d owned a conure for nearly a decade, I expected Sushi to behave a lot like Kiwi – namely, he/she would love me and want to be my friend.  Like, almost immediately.  Now here’s where it gets tricky.  You *can* indeed bond with a parakeet, and become besties, and love each other deeply.  BUT IT TAKES TIME.  A lot of time.  And more than a heaping helping of patience.  Especially if you’re dealing with a re-homed bird of unknown age, sex, origin, disposition, etc.  It’s kind of the bird equivalent of picking up a dog from the side of the road and seeing what you get.  Could be good.  Could be bad.  Wait and see….

SO as I said, tricky.  Having spent years getting to know a bird like the back of my hand (mostly because she was always there) I decided then and there that this new relationship was not going to be doomed from the start.  In my very fragile, yet ferociously strong emotional state I made a decision to give this new bird not only the very best home I could, but also the best and most “natural” sort of life possible – albeit in a weirdly captive way.  I’d read a lot about parakeets and pretty much everyone agreed: single parakeets often get lonely.  Like seriously lonely.  And unless you play with them and shower them with attention, they will never bond with you either.  And they still might not.

SO I did what any rational woman would have done in my position.  I sent my husband and daughter to the pet store to get another bird.  I WOULD HAVE ADOPTED ONE.  But the bird rescue wasn’t open for days.  And I couldn’t bear to watch Sushi just sitting there alone that long.  I’m not proud.  But I am okay w it.  They asked me what kind to get.  I said surprise me.

I am THRILLED to say, they picked a winner winner parakeet dinner!  JUST KIDDING.  I’d never eat my pets.  But they did get a winner.  Meet Sushi and (now) Nori !

Sushi and Nori

AREN’T THEY ADORABLE????!!!  Oh my word.  Be still my heart.  Before Nori came home, I’d been playing YouTube parakeet videos to Sushi.  Some kind soul recorded their parakeets talking to each other for not just minutes, but hours at a time, which you can then play back to your lonely bird.  And which Sushi loved and would sing, chirp, and chitter along to.  But the minute Nori showed up, those videos got the boot.  Much like a guy who’s super lonely, once he finds a real-life friend!  BOOM.  Anyway, the photo above was taken within a day or two of Nori’s arrival, and like magic they were bonded.  “Kissing” – which I believe is actually sharing food/feeding – and preening each other, and more.  It was kismet.  SO OF COURSE… I started thinking.  Hmm..  Kiwi’s old cage is just so big.  And spacious.  And seeing that Sushi and Nori are so happy together, and parakeets normally live in flocks of hundreds or thousands, maybe.. I should see.. about getting some more???  I mean, the cage is so huge, I could fit at least a couple more keets in there comfortably – maybe even more than that.

And so I began looking for birds – on Craigslist.  (The shelter was still closed.)  Next thing I knew, I was driving an hour south on 95 to pick up another bonded parakeet couple.

Sake and Ramen

Meet Sake and Ramen!  YAAAYYYYYYYYY!!!

And that, my friends, is the story of how Dishy got her groove back.  These parakeets, they’re enchanting.  From their melodic trilling, to their birdie chit-chat, their hierarchical posturing, and avian woo, it’s like watching a miniature soap opera.  My husband – the genius – positioned them in the living room beside a comfortable chair, so you can sit and watch them for hours.  Ooh the mirth and merriment!  The intrigue!  It’s absolutely fascinating.

The most interesting thing to me besides the birds themselves, which are so different from my former conure, are the little things I’d never imagined before owning 4 parakeets.  I’ve housesat a parakeet couple before, so I was well prepared for their near-constant melodic score.  Which I actually find soothing and lovely.  What I’d never expected was their level of filth.  HOLY CRAP!   I’m not talking about poo either.  Their turds themselves are teeny tiny.  Easily cleaned up.  It’s their food and the rest of debris that’s so expansive.  Kiwi seems SO CLEAN by comparison – it’s crazy!  Every single morning I come uncover the keets to find the floor and surrounding area absolutely littered with scattered seed casings and tiny snow-like feathers.  It’s both cute, and completely infuriating.  I don’t mind vacuuming every day – it takes mere minutes – but if any parakeet experts have any recommendations for a newbie like me, PLEASE SHARE!!  I welcome all the advice I can get.  🙂

0 thoughts on “When Life Hands You Parakeets…

  1. When I was working on the flight deck of the USS John F Kennedy, there were cable nets around the parameter of the flight deck. If anyone was blown over the side the cable nets would catch them.

    Perhaps you could recommission an old umbrella to catch parakeet cast off?

    1. Hey Mssc54! That’s a very interesting idea. I do have metal “wings” at the bottom of the cage that are supposed to do something similar. Not sure how I could get an umbrella around them. Hmmm… My husband did lower the food dish – I think that’s part of the issue. But the millet sprays are all over the cage and that’s likely the biggest offender – all their spent casings. Another great friend who’s also a bird girl tapes newspaper around the bottoms of her cages. I will ask her more detail when I see her later this week. THANKS!

  2. Am so glad you got your aviary groove back! Those lovely birds sound (literally) wonderful!
    Now to problem solve the food/seed mess…hmmmm. You need a ground animal to go around and eat up the bird mess….but then you’re back to cleaning up THAT ones mess. Oh well, just get out the old vacuum cleaner and suck up the seeds, I guess! Take care and enjoy all the feathery love!

  3. Hi, ive stumbled across your blog, I’m from England and also suffer with Meniere’s disease and have bad attacks of dizziness and vertigo. Do you still suffer? Its inflicted me for a year now. Ive a highly restricted diet and can no longer drink 😞
    Anyway, cute bird.

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