After seeing a beautiful photograph of a flock of budgerigars taken in central western Queensland, I knew I must include them in the novella I was writing, which was set there.
Wild budgerigars are green and yellow, and zoom around in large flocks living on the arid and semi-arid grasslands and woodlands of outback Australia. The colours that have been bred into the domestic gene-pool though are amazing - grey, lilac, blue and white. I like yellow-faced blue ones.
My family always had a pet budgie while I was growing up in Brisbane. This tradition began shortly after my parents arrived from England in the 1950s. A family friend who bred them helped my mother attain 'the budgie knowledge'. To be able to teach one to talk you are best off getting a male bird just out of the nest, and you must keep him away from other budgies so he wouldn't learn to chirrup.
Following a succession of pet budgies - Peter, Paul, Lucky, Tiny and so forth - came 'Ricky', our last budgie and the one I remember most. He was green and yellow, and very tame. He lived for many years and was an outstanding fellow. He enjoyed flying around our large living room at night and would perch on my shoulder or head tweaking my hair, nibbling my earrings and talking in my ear. He said many words and phrases, as well as wolf-whistling - a bit of a lad!
I'm not sure whether budgies are as popular as they used to be. People now seem to keep cockatiels and all manner of glamourous parrots as pets.
Do you have memories of a pet budgie? Or have you seen flocks of them in the wild? Leave a comment, I would love to read your stories.