His eye is on the sparrow, and mine is on the parakeet

February 11, 2016 | My Jottings

Our little parakeet Phoebe is about nine or ten months old now. She has adjusted well to her cage and our home, and her chatter makes me happy.

When I first brought her home she was quiet and wary, as expected. I learned that in order to introduce a new toy or perch in her cage, it was best to attach it first to the outside of the cage so she could study it and get accustomed to it. Now Sara and I say Phoebe trusts us completely, because whenever we put a new toy in her cage she doesn’t flap about anymore in fright, but instead sidles right up to it and checks it out with her little beak and her beady birdy eyes. I love how she turns her head from side to side as if considering things carefully.

She likes her toys with bells the best. Many times a day she takes the hanging toys in her mouth and rattles them around and rings the bells at the bottom, and chirps happily.

Recently Phoebe has taken to a new “activity,” if we could call it that. She sits on one of her perches, places her head and neck under the bell, and lets it rest against her while she’s quietly crouching down, motionless. She can sit like that for a long time.

I put a picture of this on Instagram and asked other parakeet parents if they had seen this. One answered me and said parakeets (also called budgies) like to cuddle, and since Phoebe is alone, this might be what she’s doing.

Here’s a picture of her cuddling her bell…you can click to enlarge if you like:


You can see her white cuttle bone in the back, which keeps her beak trimmed, a spray of millet in a yellow clip on the front of the cage, which she devours, a concrete perch up high to keep her toenails (is that what they’re called? Do birds have toenails?) from getting too long, and another colorful bell toy to the left.

So far, Phoebe isn’t talking. I talk to her constantly, and am working on two phrases — “what a pretty bird” and “praise the Lord.” I think I taught her to make a distinct clicking sound, and after clicking at her with my tongue against my teeth about seven hundred times, she started doing it back. Success! I was so thrilled. There are times when she warbles a bit that makes me think she might be trying to talk, but it may never happen. Which is okay.

I love Phoebe not for her beauty or her cleverness or her way with words. I love her because she’s mine, and because she’s completely dependent on me, and because her life is precious to me. I know that will sound silly to some, but Michael taught me to be a bird lover and that I firmly am.

And if you’d like to see a short clip of an adorable parakeet talking, click here. His name is Mr. Poof and his vocabulary is incredible.

I hope you have a great weekend, friends,


  1. Nancy says:

    Charming bird and beautiful cage. My cousin in Wisconsin has a pet dove age about 10 or so years. She had 2 at one point. His name is Pettie and has the run of the house.

  2. Just Julie says:

    I have never heard of a pet dove, Nancy! That sounds quite interesting. If we didn’t have two dogs here I would give Phoebe the run of the house too! Have a good weekend Nancy! XO

  3. Ganeida says:

    I adore wild birds ~ budgies are a native here ~ but I can’t abide handling them because they seem so very fragile. And no, I don’t think it’s silly to love an animal. A righteous man [or woman] takes heed to their beasts.

  4. Just Julie says:

    I can’t imagine seeing budgies in the wild, Ganeida! You do heed your beasts well…you catwoman you. 🙂 xoxo

  5. L. says:

    I think my Toby would love a bird like this. She’s so pretty. Do you give Phoebe a bath like Mr. Poof’s owners do? Mr. Poof must be famous. But I think saying “Praise the Lord!” is better than “You’re so cute.”

  6. Just Julie says:

    Oh, how I wish Phoebe were hand tamed like Mr. Poof, Leah. We have tried to get her used to the idea of sitting on our finger (which is where you start) but she’s very skittish about that. From what I read, the training needs to be every single day and I have not been faithful at that. I’m hoping I get my act together though. 🙂 xoxo

  7. Pat says:

    Oh Julie, I think you should get another bird so Phoebe has someone to cuddle with!

  8. Just Julie says:

    I’m thinking about it Pat… 🙂 xoxo

  9. Linda says:

    I agree with Pat! My son’s Budgie is lonely I think as when we let him out of his cage ….which is open when someone is home… “Feather” always sits on someone’s shoulder & very close to our cheek…Rody tires of this & swats him away ….oh dear….I want Jared to get another Budgie but he says he doesn’t want the extra poop ! Ha!

  10. Just Julie says:

    I think I could deal with the extra poop, Linda…just wary a bit about upsetting Phoebe’s world if the parakeet I bought bullied her. We had cockatiels years ago and each time we added a “friend,” the original beloved bird was terrorized. :/ xoxo

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