It's been a while since I last wrote, and there is a good reason for this.
His name is Bertie Chirpington, he has very pretty violet blue feathers, bright black eyes and a very cute manner, he likes fraying string and wearing his little silver bell as a hat.
He also squawks loudly if he feels ignored (or for any other reason) and has an unhealthy attraction to Felix our cat.
Almost ten years since remarking to my husband on our honeymoon about a display of caged tropical birds, in a park, "poor things, I can't bear to see birds in cages" my dearest, thought it would be romantic to buy me a Budgie for valentines day!
Foolishly I fought my desire to say take it back, I don't want to be responsible for caging a bird!
I looked the ball of blue feathers in the eye, and saw how beautiful he was, I noted the make of cage he was in was called a Bertie and thought it was a very apt name for the blue one it contained.
I could see how stupid the whole idea of having a caged bird in our household was, reasons being :
1. Felix intrepid and highly efficient hunter.
2. Open plan house, therefore no where (apart from the conservatory or outside) to put the bird where he will be safe and out of ear range!
3. My sanity, how to paint or write when being squawked at, as well as knowing that I am responsible for having a bird in a cage?
4. We know nothing about budgies.
Therefore I spent the next few weeks researching Budgies and seeking a cage in which he could actually spread his wings and fly! Eventually I bought one, on line, it was made in Italy and had the right dimensions, but when it arrived, I found that it was too flimsy to withstand feline attack, and I could see no way of assembling it, so I resumed my search. Finally I found a stronger, more attractive one, an indoor aviary, that had approximately the right dimensions (80w x 150cm h) and was made in Germany.
I enlisted the help of my father-in-law to put clear perspex around the base of the cage to protect the bird from Felix, and to put small wheels on the legs so we could wheel him out to the conservatory and back in to his shadier corner of the lounge when it got too hot & vise-versa.
All was going well until Father-in-law returned to complete the job, he hadn't noticed that Bertie's little cage was hanging from a different ceiling beam and promptly walked straight into it, head butting it straight into the coffee table, it ricocheted off and landed upside down on the floor!
Just as I thought " Bertie's dead!" he flew up and out of the tiny broken cage and headed for the front window, luckily the nets were drawn so he didn't bash into the glass.
After our repeated attempts to catch him, I finally got him when he flopped exhausted onto the sofa side table, I stood with him playing in my hair while Father-in-law completed the new aviary.
Bertie was very happy with his new home! also I realised that Bertie did consider his cage to be his home and not a "cage" he felt safer there, than flying freely around the room, it is after all, what he knows.
But I could see he was lonely, they are flock creatures, so next I had to get him a friend!
Following advise, I bought a turquoise male from a local show budgie breeder. This budgie I've called Sidney (after Sidney James, actor)
He is a big boy, a diva, with long fluffy feathers, very strong claws and beak and a very raucous squawk, ear piercing in fact!
Bertie instantly loved his new friend, and took him on a tour of his new indoor aviary, letting him eat his millet spray first and taking him to the water bowl!
This was my error, the squawking of happy budgies has now reached new decibels!