Many people buy a budgie because this bird species can talk. It can’t chat with you but will successfully mimic your voice and repeat words. It is an exciting experience, but your parrot will become good only if you begin with lessons on time. The question is when the right moment to start is.
If trained early and properly, a budgie is able to talk by the age of six months. The younger the budgie, the faster it will learn to talk. Budgies that are not trained or live with other budgies are less likely to learn to talk as they are less interested in interacting with humans.
This article will discover what traits affect budgies’ capability to talk. You will read about the right approach to teaching and the best moment for its beginning.
The Best Age for a Budgie to Start Talking
The crucial question for most owners, especially kids, is at what age do budgies start to talk. Let’s see.
An ideal moment to start
Since parakeets don’t have vocal cords, they need beaks and airways to produce words. On average, your budgie will be physically and mentally mature enough for the talk training once it turns three months old.
The rule of thumb is that younger birds learn quicker and more effortlessly than those older than one year. Interestingly, your female budgie will be less interested in talking than a male.
Ensuring your pet feels comfortable and safe with you before starting with lessons is vital. The bird that feels insecure will learn to talk less enthusiastically, particularly when you fail to bond with it appropriately.
Methods to get the best results early
The budgie can’t understand the meaning of the used words. Therefore, you should try a known trigger to teach it to pronounce them, like a particular gesture or a movement.
Keep in mind that your pet won’t even attempt to talk in the first three months, but it learns and remembers sounds in that period.
It is crucial to keep it away from other birds during these months to increase its chances of reproducing human speech.
The best option is to keep a cage in a room with people to let the budgie get used to human voices. Plus, spending at least one hour a day with your pet will make a difference and incline your chances to hear it talking after a few weeks.
Most bird enthusiasts will advise you to keep your face close to your pet while teaching it words. That way, you will allow it to focus on your mouth and mimicry.
Once you see the bird staring at your mouth while you repeat a chosen word, you can be sure it has started to learn. The next step is to make random sounds to signify that the practice has begun.
An average 6-month-old budgerigar can reproduce 50 to 60 words, including word songs. Once your pet learns words, you can teach it some short phrases. It will be more challenging and require time and persistence, but it is possible.
Always connect an action with the phrase you want it to learn. For instance, offer it a ball following the words ‘who wants a ball’? Then, you can do the same with a treat, food, or toy as you wish.
Never force your bird to learn more than 15 minutes without a break. The best option is to have a lesson early in the morning or before it goes to sleep. That way, you can expect the budgie to say the first word approximately two to three months after starting the lessons.
Are All Budgies Capable of Imitating Human Speech?
In 2004, Gabriël J.L.Beckers and associates published a paper with results that show the parrots’ lingual articulation may explain their ability to mimic human speech. It seems that they have a specific formant system that allows undisturbed vocalizations.
That could be an explanation why teaching your budgie is an effortless task. However, you should keep in mind that it can learn to talk, but it won’t do that independently and without your help.
You need to encourage and teach it talk once it reaches the age to become receptive to this experience. Be dedicated and stay consistent and patient, and a result will delight you.
Why Do Budgies Talk? How Much Can They Understand?
Imitating complex sounds is rare in birds, and ornithologists noticed that ability only in parrots, hummingbirds, and songbirds. However, parrots have the most advanced vocal mimicry.
Dr. Erich Jarvis studied vocal learning evolution and birds’ ability to produce sounds unfamiliar for their species. He identified the brain regions that control vocal learning.
His thesis is that the motor learning pathway in a few bird and animal species’ brains can duplicate and form atypical connections to the innate vocal capabilities. According to this theory, your budgie can talk thanks to precise motor control over the sound production.
The most intelligent species like African Grey parrot can learn fantastic 300 to 1000 words, while budgies can even decode lexical stress patterns in regular human speech.
Michelle J. Spierings and Carel ten Cate published a fascinating study in 2016. They dealt with the question of whether budgerigars and zebra finches have the ability to learn abstract grammatical structures.
The results showed that budgies successfully understood the abstract relation between two terms and could classify connections between them.
Professor of animal behavior Carel ten Cate spent years examining songbirds’ vocal organs that allow them to speak. Plus, he tried to understand their mechanisms of combining sounds and learning even basic grammatical rules.
It is known that birds show congenital predispositions for signals typical for their species. However, they need to be exposed to that vocalizations during an early period of life to accept them appropriately.
Accordingly, you should find the best moment for the first lessons to make it easier for your budgie speaking. Be aware that only persistent repetition will gradually refine the bird’s communicative abilities.
How Loneliness Affects a Budgie’s Learning
The fact is that your budgie will learn to talk faster if you keep it alone. However, these sociable birds need the company of their species, so you shouldn’t keep your pet all alone for a long because of speaking.
The best option is to spend a few months teaching it to learn speaking basics, and then let it enjoy in company. Future learning can be a bit slower and more challenging, but always remember that the bird’s happiness is crucial in the process.