I like many other breeders got my first bird when I was a kid, and like many other kids, my first bird did not live very long nor was it tame or nice. I still wanted that pet bird.
Fast forward to my mid-forties. One very hot afternoon a parakeet flew into our backyard here in Arizona. Terribly dehydrated, it was trying to figure out how to drink from the pool waterfall. It looked in bad shape. I had a butterfly net in the pool room, grabbed it and caught the bird. He thanked me by screaming nonstop and biting me as well.
I spent days looking on the internet and posting signs for the lost parakeet. No one ever claimed him. I finally went and got a cage, as I am sure he was tired of being in an upside-down colander on the counter.
Bird Bird was there to stay, he lived to the old age of about 12, he was funny, he learned to talk, and I tamed him. I bought him and friend and the two spent more time out of their cage than in. My neighbor gave me two more and so it started. Bird bird had a family and I was enjoying my birds. Tiny little things but funny and good company.
I had to go to Arkansas to take care of my parents home, my parents had gone into nursing care. I took the birds with me. One of my hens got egg-bound I went online at a forum to get help.
I became friends with Todd George-Stone, who was very knowledgeable and bred English Budgies as well as other birds. He invited me to Little Rock to see his birds.
The first time I saw his English Budgies, I thought they looked weird with their big puffy heads as I called it and fat chubby bodies. They grew on me. I wanted one, however, I was headed back to Arizona and I thought I would get one there.
When I got back here I did not know who to contact, I could not find the English Budgie anywhere. I was not familiar with Bird Marts, had never heard of a Budgie show or club.
I finally found a listing for a Bird Mart in the fall of 2011. I went there and bought my first Budgie, a little Texas Clearbody cock that was a little over a year old. The breeder was Jim Lynch from Sundance Aviaries, he gave me information on the birds explained his coloring and showed me how to tame him and clipped his wings (remember this was a pet bird). He gave me his papers and “Mr Magoo” and I went home. He tamed and learned to talk. Magoo was a proud little guy and I was hooked.
I got Mr Magoo in October, in January there was another Bird Mart, I went to purchase another bird. This time I met Stephen Fowler, and bought a big grey bird and named him Puff. Puff and Magoo became great friends and learned to talk well. They were so fun, by the time the next bird mart rolled around it was the fall of 2012. I thought I would maybe get a pair to breed. Back to the bird mart again.
Seeing neither Jim nor Stephen there, I met Mick McCown, he sold me a pair of sky spangles. I knew nothing of the colors, but they looked pretty to me. He also gave me their papers and explained about breeding etc. He told me about the Budgie auction that was coming up. But I declined having just got this pair.
Being completely new at this I found the English Budgies were not as easy to breed as the parakeets. I sent countless emails to Mick for help with the birds. He offered to replace the hen free of charge since she seemed to be the problem, but I was attached to her already. He said no keep her I will give you another come to the next bird mart. He gave me another hen and I bought yet another cock from him too. I now had six English Budgies.
Each time the Bird Mart time would come up I would go and pick up one or two more. Finally in the spring of 2014, Mick gave me a flyer for a show in Mesa. I said I would go and watch. Having shown horses for thirty plus years, the idea of a Budgie show sparked my interest.
March 2014, the show. I came I saw, I was hooked. I joined the Arizona Budgerigar Society that day. I stayed and helped after the show. Even though I could not show I went to every Budgie show that year and helped out and learned. I bought birds for breeding and by the time my first breeding season rolled around I was set up with breeding cages due to the kindness of Lyle Rodebaugh, (FR2 band) and I raised over a 100 babies my first year.
This is my third breeding season we are going into now. I have learned a great deal, I have so much more to learn. Breeding and Showing the birds has been a great experience, its friendly competition, at the end of the day we all go out to dinner together and talk birds.
UPDATE FAST FORWARD TO 2018!!
Having now survived four breeding seasons, three seasons of showing, I am still enjoying it. I raised 104 babies in 2015, 150 in 2016, 200 in 2017 and this year 2018 only 50. I have moved through the ranks up to Champion this year. The last three shows I got Best Intermediate twice, Best Rare as well as Best Opposite Intermediate, additionally one bird place 3rd, 7th and 10th Best in Show, along with a 7th Best In Show with a grey bird.
I still seek guidance, I know I have barely scratched the surface of knowledge. Mick McCown continues to be my main mentor without him I might have just given up. Thank You, Mick.
I have learned about the joys of the hobby, as well as the downside- Feather Dusters, French Molt, losing your most promising birds, Losing your favorite birds, being hit by disease and losing 40+ of my best breeding stock. Even with the ups and downs bottom line is I am hooked on these colorful happy birds.
I have made friends all over the country, and across the world, and I try to give back to the hobby as much as possible. I have sold birds from Conneticut to Hawaii, and made more friends along the way.
Raising the budgies is a hobby, I enjoy it, I love the birds. Every new hatch there is hope for the super nice show bird.
That’s my Budgie story and it is a work in progress…..Questions? Contact Us