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Kid’s Stuff – Story Two

A PARAKEET TREAT

Story and Photos by Natalie Bright

Above my head flashes of blue, green, and yellow dart back and forth. The tree branches are alive with color. A frenzy of chirping greets my entrance into the parakeet aviary at the Fort Worth Zoo in Forth Worth, Texas. High above me stretches a net which stops the birds from flying away.

Photo By Natalie Bright

I hold tight to a stick covered in millet seeds as a fluffy ball of white lands on my hand. Standing perfectly still, I watch as my arm is soon covered, but the birds are not heavy. To me, having a parakeet come to rest on my hand is a special treat. In their original homeland, they were once viewed in a different way.

Many years ago the birds were also a treat- a treat to eat! Originally from the grasslands of Australia, the birds are known as budgerigars, budgie for short. In Aborigine language that means “good to eat”.

Photo By Natalie Bright

They were first brought to England in 1838. Their popularity as a pet soon spread all over the world. Known for their active, playful nature, budgies are also extremely intelligent. Usually the males are able to talk, with some learning as many as 100 words.

The term parakeet means small parrot, which can include many different kinds of parrots. Budgie is a more specific term, and refers to the smaller shell parakeets.

Photo By Natalie Bright

In their native Australia they live in large groups and sleep in the tree tops, moving from tree to tree. Wild budgies are bright green with wavy, black lines on their head and wings. Their faces are yellow. This color mixture gives them protection in the grass and trees of their homeland.

In captivity, babies are born to parents of different color blends and shades of the same color. Just as you might have a different eye color or hair color than your mother or father.

The pigment, or natural base color, of their feathers is yellow, and the top pigment of their feathers is blue, making some green all over.

Yellow plus blue = green

A blue budgie is missing the yellow gene;

Green minus yellow = blue

A yellow bird lacks the blue pigment;

Green minus blue = yellow

Sometimes a baby bird is born without either blue or yellow. They are white in color.

How many colors can you see?

Read A DOLL NAMED CORN – Another Story By Natalie Bright