Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An Unusual Guest in my Garden

An escaped budgie who's become a regular in my garden this winter

In yesterday's post (here) I mentioned that John had called me to come and see the "parrot" (their name for it) had arrived again. Three weeks ago, John came running into the kitchen to tell me that he and David had spotted a strange bird. I regularly take my bird book out and show both the gardeners plates of birds of interest which we have in the garden. (See my post of a juvenile Diederik here) As it's winter now, and not many "different" birds visit us at this time, I was not sure what to expect. Following John out to behind the garage where David was standing under a leaf-less plum tree and pointing upwards. it took me a minute to see what the men were so excited about. With John also pointing upwards and saying "mane"(Sesotho for "there") I eventually spotted the bird. It was a bright blue budgie!

I explained to the gardeners that this bird had escaped from a cage in someone's house. I couldn't think whose pet it could be, but told the men to leave it alone. It might fly back to it's owners home or, if it was still outdoors at nightfall, it would probably die from exposure.

I had all but forgotten about this little bird, when last week John knocked on the office window and told me to come quickly. The "parrot" had returned and was sitting in a tree in the big garden. Armed with my camera, I crept up to the tree John pointed to, and sure enough, there was the same little budgie sitting on the branch amongst the other wild birds. I could hear his melodious swizzling song above that of the Cape White Eyes, Southern Masked Weavers, White Browed Sparrow Weavers and Cape Sparrows. I was amazed; how had he survived? We had been experiencing some very cold nights in the past two weeks, yet he here he was, looking quite fit and well.

Later that afternoon, as I walked past the guest room window, I saw that the budgie had descended to the ground and was pecking away amongst the other birds, obviously filling/fuelling up for the long night ahead. I've been in a bit of a dilema. What do I do about this bird. I feel terribly sorry for it but at the same time, admire its courage at making the best of its new life.

The budgie pecking on the grass with the wild birds in my garden

I sent the photos off to a very good friend of ours in Port Elizabeth who has caged budgies and canaries in their home. He replied to my e-mail that having this little bird survive outdoors in my garden is amazing but also very sad. He didn't think it would survive a really cold spell which we always expect in August. He suggested I contact someone to come and catch it and cage it. I do know of one gentleman who has a bird aviary in town. I might go and ask his opinion. If this bird has escaped from his cages, he'd probably be able to come to my garden, call it and have it fly into his hand.

My friend also told me an almost unbelievable story of a friend of his who was fishing off the rocks at the beach. Suddenly he spotted a tiny but brightly-coloured bedraggled bundle in the swirling waters below his feet. He reached down and scooped up a half-drowned budgie. He dried it, took it home and within days it was right as rain. He called it Jonah and it lived for may years in a cage in his home.
After a few more minutes of photographing the budgie and its new friends, I wandered camera in hand, through my garden. The late afternoon sun was warm and the shadows made my brown, almost bare garden look soft and inviting. Imagine my delight when I spotted a resident pair of Hadeda Ibis strutting along the bottom of my garden.
I approached quietly and managed to get a few good photos of the larger of the two birds, which is the male. while the female slunk out of sight along the garden wall. Here (above) he even stopped and posed for me.

Eventually something alarmed him and with a raucous call, he flew up over the trees and into the distance.

For more on My World Tuesday and Pet Pride, click here and here. respectively.


  1. Terrific photos and a great story! Lovely little Budgie! Birds are so delightful. Great post!

  2. that was a beautiful post! hope you do find someone to rescue the poor budgie..

    Pet Pride

  3. We have quite a number of parrot escapees visit our happy parrots in Niger. Quite a few of them have voluntarily flown in on the veranda, and one big male would never walk out of the cage again after he had come in. Even though the door was open, he refused to go out - happy to have shelter, company and lots and lots of good food! No wonder they attract others! Hope this little fellow makes it!

    Off to work! Greetings from Sweden!!

  4. Wonderful photos. Poor little Budgie. Hope he makes it. I enjoyed the stroll through your garden and the ibis.

  5. Great shots of the birds. I hope the budgie survives its freedom. Lovely story too.

  6. Beautiful pictures and such a nice sense of warmth from your community comes through. . your connectedness with others. . .

    Best luck with the charming little blue budgie! I hope you can find someone to give him a good home.

  7. Jo: What a neat look at your garden visitor. I loved the photos of your Ibis. they are such an unusual bird. Good luck with the Bundie.

  8. I hope your little parakeet (U.S. name) will stay healthy long enough to be rescued. Those are great photos. The Ibis are fantastic. How big are they?

  9. If it is a canary you don't have to worry. We have lots of them in a park in Brussels, from some which escaped and multiplied, they are all healthy and survive cold temperatures without any problem last winter we had -11°C. My friend's neighbor has an outside cage where parrots and canaries are living outside too. apparently they adapt to the clima.

  10. Hi Sylvia, thanks, it's such a beautifully bright bird amongst the brown, non-breeding birds in the garden at the moment, But true to animal form, he's accepted as one of the crowd. Thanks for visiting.

    Hi [bozo] magiveye;) thanks for a lovely meme to expose my beloved pets and wildlife in the garden. Thanks for visiting.

    Hi Esther;) If I was a parrot, I'd also stay in your animal0-friendly compound with all the happy parrots. Have a good summer!

    Hi Snap;) welcome to my blog. Thanks for you kind comments. I also hope the budgie makes it through the winter.

    Hi diane;) thanks for your visit.

    Hi Sandy;) GOOD to see you on my blog! Thanks for your kind comments - I also hope the budgie's story has a happy ending or is it beginning?

    Hi Tom :)thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for a lovely meme which I enjoy immensely. Yes the little budgie is really bright and chirpy. (I love your name for her) The Ibis are regulars in my garden and really beautiful.

    Hi Dedene;) I've always wondered why some people called Budgies Parakeets, now I know (LOL) This particular Ibis (Hadeda- pronounced "HARDEEDAH" ,is quite big weighing in at 1.75kg (2 3/4 lbs) Thanks for popping in. (((Hugs)))

  11. Hi Jo, you have such a variety of wild life in your garden, I love the budgie story and hope it will be OK as it is now your winter.I did not think you would actually get frozen water out there so it must really get cold.
    Best wishes

  12. That's one determined Budgie. I agree it won't last in very cold conditions but it sure is trying. Nice Ibis pose.

  13. I do hope that you can get someone to help the little Budgie! He most surely escaped from a house. The ibis was stunning - I lived in Florida for years and loved seeing the Scarlet Ibis - pink colored. Great post.

  14. Ah, what a bittersweet story. I hope he'll be ok.

  15. Hi Gattina, that is encouraging news. It's still early morning, dark and cold here in Central South Africa, but I wait to see if the budgie appears later on. Our temps are only -3 so I really hope and pray this little girl makes it. Meanwhile I'm trying to arrange with a friend who can probably only come over the weekend and then we hope the budgie is here. A friend of mine a block away, says the budgie visits her garden daily as well. Quite the gregarious little lass. Thanks for your visit.

    Thanks mkreider;) good to see you again. Thanks for the visit.

    Hi Peggy:) it does get to minus temps here at this time of the year. We've even had snow in August - but it only lasts for the morning. My pond/waterfalls are turned off at night so the shallower ponds (2 and 3) freeze on the surface. The 40 ft pond doesn't but it's very cold. I'm hoping my dh's barbel are surviving but we caught them in the town dam, so they should be fine. Oh, all this responsibility LOL! Hugs and congratulations again on your beautiful new grandson.

    Hi mountain living;) I also hope the budgie survives until I can call someone in to help! I've seen an escaped Scarlet Ibis in the bush (it fled from the Umgeni Bird Sanctuary in Durban) was the talk of the area at the time. Thanks for popping in.

    Hi mountainmama;) So do I. I believe she'll survive until I can all my friend. Will keep all updated... Thanks for visiting.

  16. Jo. there is no need to worry about the Budgie, if he has survived predators so far, he will survive the winter unless your daytime temps are below freezing in the coldest part of the winter. They are native to Australia's dryland and survive in the desert where winter night-time temps. regularly drop below freezing. If he is in the company of other birda who alarm him against predators he will probable survive more happily than in a cage. If you want to have him hanging around, hang a Budgie seed cob in a tree and you will have the joy of seeing a spot of flying blue.

  17. Thanks for the encouragement, Arija. Thanks for popping in. (((Hugs))) Jo


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