Title - A Great Little Talker
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In January of 2001, Linda of Falls Church, Virginia, wrote to me at Cobber Budgies, and we soon became friends. She was seeking advice and comfort because her eight year old budgie Cookie was in declining health, despite help from the vet. Sadly, Cookie died a while later, but Linda bought a new baby budgie whom she named Sunny.

This is the story of how, with Linda's devoted attention and skill, (several teaching sessions every day), Sunny soon became a smashing talker -- told in extracts from her original emails to me. (Linda's brother is also a budgie-lover, and has a pet hen budgie called Andy Bird.)

Sunny

February 27th 2001
Now for the good news! I purchased "Sunny" a Lutino budgie on February 16th. He's beautiful and brings me a lot of joy. The salesman I purchased Sunny from has an 11 year-old male budgie (Marshall) that has outlived two females (egg-bound). My brother didn't want me to go without a bird. When I found out a new shipment of birds was coming to this pet store near me and had met this salesman who was a budgie lover himself, I thought it was a good chance to find a good bird. They quarantine birds for three days before putting them out and I was there to get the first pick.

Helen, I had never seen such a beautiful bunch of budgies. Only one thing -- his wings are clipped -- and I read after the fact about not doing this on your website. So, now I'm anxiously waiting for his wings to grow ... and hope they will. My brother says that any bird that goes home with me experiences heaven on earth. I bought this nice big cage for him. The only thing about this cage is all the rungs are vertical. But Sunny seems to be able to get around now.

He's very placid and I'm hoping to have him talking by this Friday - 2 weeks.

In baby-budgie-bliss!
Linda

April 19th 2001
Sunny is doing very well. After his one-month anniversary, he was very familiar with his cage (as you know I was afraid he wouldn't be able to climb on the vertical rungs) and he says his name and does two kinds of whistles. I'm working on small phrases now. Also, thank the good Lord, I'm starting to see a little tip of his flight feathers growing in now.

Andy Bird: what a character! Did I tell you Andy is really a female? When my brother named her, he didn't take a good look at her care. Andy and Sunny have had two opportunities to play recently during the Easter holidays. As you would imagine, the family got together and so did the budgies! It was sad to see Sunny trying to fly after Andy.

Take care,
Linda

SunnyJune 8th 2001
When I look at my little Sunny I always think of how I must tell you of his progress to date. It wasn't until after one month, when he became thoroughly acquainted with his cage and perches, that he seemed to come alive with that usual animated budgie character. You know the bopping of the head and singing. Just two weeks ago he started whistling and saying "Come here Sunny." He also says "Suuuuuuuuunnnneeeeeeee!" I guess I must have said it that way!!!

Because I've been so busy, I've not been coming home in a timely manner to get him on my finger and lead him out of his cage. I've only had about three hours in the night to play with him.

Well, I've only seen a little bit of Sunny's clipped wings starting to grow. I can't wait to see that beautiful little bright yellow body soar through the air into my Ficus trees like Cookie did. Don't worry, my trees are fake but all my birds loved to play in them -- they're like huge jungle-gyms for birds!

When I first brought Sunny home it took about two weeks for him to settle down at night to sleep. Now he jumps right up to his swing (the highest perch) and stays there until I uncover him in the morning. He also likes to eat his food from his toys i.e. a little carousel and a cup next to a pokey budgie head toy. Last night he nibbled on his first mustard greens. I read in one of my books that budgies should have a little bit of greens/fruit every day instead of a lot once in a while.

I do not keep Sunny's cage on the refrigerator like I did all my other birds. I can't believe it -- the stress the vibration can cause a budgie. That's another thing I read about in the book.

Cheers!
Linda

June 15th 2001
Sunny is talking up a storm. - Linda

July 30th 2001
Sunny is like a broken record -- He won't shut up! :-) This past week I started to teach him, "I love my sunshine" and just last night I heard him say it. About a week ago I heard him say Dozzie and we figured out it was Rosie and now he says Rosie clearly. He loves to be kissed. What is it with these budgies and kissing. He puts his beak right up to my lips and waits for me to kiss him and if I don't he starts kissing me. In fact, he says "Give me a kissy" a lot. I guess this is an important time to teach him to say new things.

Linda


By June 2003 Sunny could say:

Gotta go to the beach
Cock a doodle do
Birds can't talk
Watch ya doin? Huh?
Kisses...give me kisses
Pretty bird
Come here
Happy Birthday to you
I can talk, can you fly? (but he can't pronouce the "f" so it sounds like "lie"
Sunny, dunny, dun dun
Andy bird come here (Andy is my brother's bird)
Happy birds go to the beach
Oh how sweet
What a sweet bird
Hi, how are you?
Good Morning sunshine
Sunny bird
He's a big beak
He's my pretty baby
God Bless You
I like Brocolli
...and your usual whistles.

September 6th 2001
Sunny now boasts that "Birds can't talk" and "Someone is a Bird!"

Take care and have a great weekend (as we American's always say!)
Linda

October 10th 2001
Sunny bird says "Hi, how are you?" Did I tell you that he already says, "Birds can't talk" and "Whatcha doing?" (notice the American touch on poor English!?).

I had a birthday party for my brother last night and Sunny was the center of attention to five little girls and three mothers who all took turns getting kisses from him. Although he didn't talk for them they were very much amused about how tame he was. For the most part I am able to put him right back in the cage with him sitting on my index finger. The other night I put him in my five foot artificial fichus tree where I placed a mirror and another toy for him to play with. That was Cookie's favorite spot. It took Sunny about 30 minutes to figure out that he could move closer to the toys.

Last night he was talking to the mirror in his little bath tub and because there was no water in it, his little raspy voice was amplified. It was like some one talking in a megaphone! As you can tell Sunny is a constant joy to me.

Affectionately
Linda

February 14th 2002
Sunny Bird's birthday (the day I bought him) is Friday and just last night he said "Happy Birthday to You!" I started teaching him the happy birthday thing Monday night. Is he a smarty or what!? I've been truly blessed with that little guy.

Got to run ...... take care and happy St. Valentine's Day!!!   - Linda

March 20th 2002
... Smarty Pants Sunny ... said "Merry Kissy" last night     - Linda

September 4th 2002
Wonders never seem to cease with Sunny. He is truly God's gift to me and I am amazed at His creation in this little feathered friend of mine. He screams some of the ends of his sentences. I just think he's so happy. I think I told you his latest was "Gotta go to the beach." And you know he says "Happy birds go to the beach." And now I can call him from the first floor of my house to find me on the second floor. My first bird, Bobby used to do that. As Sunny says, "He's a blessing" ... he truly is.

Sincerely and love
Linda

Story and photos courtesy and © the author, first published 2003.

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