Monday, March 12, 2012

Freak Week 3.5: English Parakeets.

Now, here's a good question: Why, of all the creatures in the world, has the ever-popular budgerigar escaped this blog? Sure, they aren't very strange, but they are amazing in their own right and the author has personally kept several. Alas, it's hard to fit them in. Parakeets/budgies have very little going for them in terms of breeds, and even regular budgie hobbyists have mixed feelings about the one true breed budgies have:

That big, fluffy head means that the parakeet above is an English budgerigar. Isn't it British enough for you? Carry on. Stop in for tea and crumpets later!

English budgies are characterized by that big, poofy head, extended mask spots, and being twice the size of a normal budgerigar. The skull is not any bigger, proportionately - all those feathers are just feathers. They are not good flyers and will usually squat on perches for long amounts of time.

Blue British, green normal. From The Budgie Place.

English budgies are the only budgies with vague show standards. Breeders are supposedly meticulously clean about their birdies before an exhibition, going so far as to trim the mask and fluffy feathers so that everything looks nice and neat. No doubt dog enthusiasts take their precious pooches to the groomer's before a show...but birds do not have that luxury.

Unfortunately, these birds, much like overly-fluffy dogs, have issues. They have been so extensively bred that their lifespan is virtually cut in half (a good budgie will live 15-20 years if properly cared for; an English, 7-11). Breeding too many English budgies can also result in what are called  "feather dusters." Feather dusters are so fluffy that they only live for a few months.

Budgies seem to be at that critical crossroads where owners are fully aware that breeds exist, but wonder if they're really the right thing for the species as a whole. Nobody has a problem breeding for simple color variations. It's when British budgies - a breed so different from regular budgies it's uncanny - show up that people start raising eyebrows. Bird owners are not like dog owners were eons ago. They realize that the English budgie has a weak gene pool to work with, and will probably fade out of existence in the long run.


  1. Finally, some sanity! Might be why you haven't written about them, not crazy enough.

    I ran across something I thought might interest you, spider silk used to create a garment. There's a video about this marvelous cape being shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

  2. Sanity? What is this 'sanity' thing you speak of? But yes, that's why the English 'keet didn't get in before. Unfortunately, he DID take the place of Kimba...

    NEAT at that garment, BTW. *Bookmarks.*

    1. Sorry, meant the sanity of the other budgie owners who are not over breeding.

  3. It's CALLED Inbreeding for your information, uneducated folk.