Adopt or purchase a budgie and bring them home, get to know them, and chances are you’ll have many questions about their behaviors, you may find your budgie may is afraid of you and in this article, we are going to talk about why.
Why is my budgie afraid of me? Budgies may not bond with you at first because they are afraid of the unknown. Try to imagine a huge hand coming through your door to scoop you up. This can be frightening and must be taken slowly so your budgie can come to know you mean well.
Do not be upset if your budgie does not form an immediate bond with you. Just examine the situation from his perspective. You are much bigger than he is, and until he gets to know you and how you are, he may be a bit skittish about interacting with you.
Slow and steady wins the race in this particular scenario.
Reasons for Budgie Fears
Do not immediately assume it is something you did that made your budgie fearful. It could be something you did but remember that some birds come from different backgrounds such as abusive homes, for instance.
Some birds may be afraid of touch and hide in their cages-and may even make it hard for bird owners to clean their cage properly.
Your budgie may be afraid because of:
- Coming from an abusive home
- Predators in the home such as a cat or dog
- Changes that take place in the cage
- Hands – some birds don’t like them
- Earthquakes (if your area gets them)
- Clothing colors
Some of these may seem outlandish, but they really can affect how a pet budgie feels.
For instance, wearing a new shirt around your bird could make him afraid. Our pet birds not only see color like we do, but they also see UV colors, too. Some colors are super bright for birds, so they may get a frightened reaction when you wear something new around them.
Earthquakes are scary for humans, and they are for birds, too. They are very sensitive to quakes and may react with a scared demeanor. Make sure you are safe, and then check your bird, calming them down and verifying if they sustained any injuries.
Gently try to help your bird to his perch.
Hands are scary to some birds and bringing them into their personal space is scary. You can help by offering your bird some good treats by hand and handling your bird away from the cage little by little.
Predators are a big deal if you are a pet budgie. Dogs or cats we have as pets can be scary. Do not leave your bird alone, or outside of his cage with a dog or cat. Your bird likely feels stressed out at the thought of being eaten by a cat or dog.
Determining Budgie Fears
Are you overlooking a scared budgie? You will want to find and alleviate any fears your budgie has right away. But first, you must know how to identify these behaviors so you can correct them and help your budgie stay healthy.
It can be hard to tell how your bird is feeling especially if you are new to owning and caring for them. There are some physical signs you can follow to help you stay abreast of how your budgie is feeling.
Being able to tell when he or she is afraid can help you know when to back off and let them have a little space.
- Your Budgie Flaps or Flies Around Like Crazy in The Cage. This will happen the first few times you stick your hand inside. Unless your new buddy was raised with hands, he probably sees your hand as a foreign predator.
In this case, just enter the cage for basic maintenance tasks, and show your hand from the other side of the bars often. Let them see it from far away and do not move your hand. Offer some goodies like treats through the cage bars so they can know you mean well.
- Panting is a tell-tale sign of a scared budgie. They breathe with their beak open slightly. They may look adorable doing this, but no sound is coming out. If their wings are clipped, they may just want to go back to their cage where it is safe.
- Watery Poops are a sign that something is wrong. These are known as “fear poops” and they happen because there are no other factors that play into it, like having just eaten or bathed, or being sick. If you startle your bird, he or she may poop out of fear and it will be rather watery.
- Wide Eyes/Slicked down feathers mean fear in a budgie. If they are startled, their feathers get flat, and their eyes go wide. They may go to a spot in their cage and stand there until they feel safe again.
Ways to Alleviate Budgie Fears
Thankfully there are many great ways you can help your budgie feel safer and happier around you. Working with scared pet birds requires much patience and empathy for the creature, but they can be tamed and happy so long as you are willing to put in the effort.
Assess the Fear
Is your budgie afraid of your hand if you scratch your head 4 feet away from the cage? No? Take one step forward and scratch your head. Assess by standing or sitting with your body turned away slightly – do not make direct eye contact.
Do this whilst wearing a sweater with the sleeves over your hands. See how close you can come with this body language in an easygoing state-feathers soft, eyes relaxed.
Work up to getting closer to him. When you reach the limit, stand outside of the limit until he gets used to that. Then slowly move in.
Desensitize Your Bird
Expose your bird to hands for a very short segment of time during the day. Push it to the limit each and every time just a tiny bit. This will teach your bird that hands are not a threat and they sometimes contain valuable stuff like treats or a favored veggie.
When positive moments such as getting treats from hands occurs more than other hand interaction, the fear goes away. For the time being, clean and service the cage only when hands are tucked away in a sweatshirt.
We want hands to be associated only with good things.
The right treats can help tremendously here. So we have created a list with 12 treats your budgie will love here!
Show Him How to Step Up
You can still show a bird who is afraid of hands how to step up. Put your hand, with the palm facing down, on a flat surface, and then have them step onto the back of the hand. Hold a treat over your hand to guide him.
Once the budgie does not hesitate to step onto the back of the hand, gradually turn the hand into a more normal position as the pet continues to use it to get to the desired reward.
Do this over weeks and months, and with enough patience, you will have success.
We know it is hard, but taming a budgie takes patience. Especially, if you have a budgie that is easily afraid. However, our article on how to tame a budgie will help you with that process. We highly recommend reading it here!
Be Body Language Smart
Be sure you watch how your bird reacts when you use your hands to do certain things. You may find it is not the hands themselves, but the hands’ actions that make your bird afraid.
You have to be patient. Respect your budgie’s boundaries. Doing so will add to your relationship and he will come to trust you – after all, you have years to get to know and love one another. No need to rush.
Here are a couple of articles that will help you to find out what your budgie is telling you:
- The truth about budgies bobbing their heads
- Why your budgie is flapping his wings
- Why your budgie is puffed up – 5 reasons
Do Budgies Like to be Handled?
Budgies are on the small side and require smaller cages. Budgies are very trainable birds and can absolutely become hand tamed. If you would like a bird that interacts with you in a vocal way and would like them to fly after you in the house, the budgie is a great choice for you.
Do Budgies Like to Be Petted?
Most budgies do not like to be pet. So, do not be afraid if your budgie freaks out a bit when he is handled or petted by another human being. Some exceptions may occur, such as when the bird is sexually aroused. They then allow their mate to pet them-bird or even human.
Do Budgies Need to be Covered at Night?
It is a good idea to cover up your budgie’s cage every night. It is important he gets enough sleep so if your budgie goes to sleep after sunset, cover the cage after sunrise so he gets plenty of sleep. Cover the cage also prevents night frights.
Budgies can be afraid of you for many reasons. Often times it is the hands that cause these worries in budgies; they see them as predators who enter their personal space. Budgies simply have a fear of the unknown.
Thankfully, patience and compassion plus a little know-how allow budgie owners to get close to their birds and enjoy lasting friendship for years to come.