Why is my Budgie Scared of Everything, Including me?
Budgies are naturally jumpy; still, you may wonder, why is my budgie scared of everything? Sure, although they are sensitive to their surroundings and may get scared and lose control under some circumstances, they might do it way too often for your liking.
Of course, to unravel the mystery, we must dig into their behavior, which can help us create a more comfortable atmosphere for our feathery friends.
Budgies may be scared due to their instincts, unfamiliar objects or sounds, sudden movements, or past traumatic experiences. They may also get spooked if you stare or try to approach them without gaining their trust first.
As prey animals, they are hardwired to be cautious and react to anything that could harm them, including human beings. However, even though their reactions help protect them from danger, they frequently seem overly fearful or timid.
Before determining what is making your pets run away from you, you have to be sure, without a doubt, they are indeed afraid. Once you know the classic signs of a terrified bird, you will be able to find the actual cause of the problem and the ideal solution.
Keep reading to find out what’s the best way to deal with a skittish budgie.
How do I Know if my Budgie is Afraid?
You can quickly tell if your budgie is afraid of something by watching it. There are multiple signs that accompany a scared budgie, and believe it or not, they aren’t that different from the ones exhibited by people (reference).
Think about it. You don’t want to draw attention to yourself when you are scared. Your budgie does the same thing. A scared budgie might sit quietly and without moving on its perch, often trying to make itself smaller and less noticeable. This behavior is a sign your pet is afraid.
When a budgie is scared, it may have watery poop. Nervous people also tend to go to the bathroom often, so we have that in common. This is because fear can trigger signals in the body that affect the digestive system, leading to diarrhea or loose droppings.
A frightened budgie will display excessive alertness, constantly looking around with wide eyes and quick head movements. This behavior is perfectly normal as they must remain alert when danger may appear from anywhere.
Almost everyone does this when walking near a dark alley, which is why seeing a budgie doing it is not a surprise.
Panting, or rapid breathing, is another sign that your budgie is scared. That’s a universal sign indicating that your pet is trying to get more oxygen to have more energy to respond to a threat. This natural reaction also increases the heart rate due to experiencing fear or stress.
It might be a sign of fear if your budgies flap their wings frantically inside the cage. I have seen my budgies do this occasionally when an object falls on the floor. It is a desperate reaction to an impending threat. Some speculate it could be a way for them to release tension or escape danger.
Feather-plucking is often a signal of anxiety or fear in a budgie. If your bird is plucking out its feathers, it may be trying to deal with a chronic frightful situation or environment.
Like wing-flapping, if budgies suddenly take off and fly around the room or cage erratically, it clearly indicates that your pets are scared. This is pretty evident if they hit themselves against walls or windows.
A frightened budgie may shiver or tremble, even if the temperature in the room is comfortable. Unfortunately, some owners may get confused with this sign if it’s too cold.
One way to rule out chilly weather is to see if your pet is still shivering at temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, that being the case means something is making your winged companion afraid.
If a budgie retreats to a corner or tries to hide behind objects in the cage, it may feel scared. Hiding is one of the most easily recognizable signs of a scared budgie. I have seen many do this, especially when they are young.
A scared budgie may make a series of high-pitched, repetitive, distressed chirps or squawks. Screaming is probably the one indicator that shows when your bird has been caught off guard by something (resource).
In the following video, you will be shown a few of the typical signs of a scared budgie:
Why is my Budgie Scared?
There is no shortage of reasons for a budgie to be afraid of something. Remember, they are prey animals, so they like safety and predictability. They are not too fond of surprises, as they might become a threat to them.
Budgies may become scared if placed in a different environment. It can take time for them to adjust to their new surroundings and feel comfortable. Keep in mind they must know first if their new home is a dangerous place before they can feel at ease.
Budgies with a traumatizing past, such as those rescued from neglect or abuse, may be more prone to fear and anxiety (details). A previous owner, breeder, or an employee from a pet store may have abused them or handled them roughly against their will without considering their feelings. Birds that have suffered from this are the ones that will require the most care to overcome their fear.
Budgies that are not feeling well or are in pain may exhibit fear or anxiety, as they are more vulnerable in these conditions. It isn’t rare for a bird to be afraid of getting close to people or even other birds, as even the slightest touch could bring a lot of distress. Moreover, a predator is an even bigger threat when that’s the case, as budgies are less likely to have the energy to escape.
Darkness can be scary for budgies, as their vision is limited in low light conditions, making them feel more susceptible to threats. Therefore, you must never approach a budgie in the dark, or it will panic and try to fly away, causing it to harm itself. Unfortunately, I made that mistake once as I got too close to my budgie’s cage to see if it was OK, and it got spooked so badly that it almost had a heart attack.
New or unfamiliar toys can make budgies feel uneasy or scared until they become accustomed to them. Remember, in their eyes, that new toy could be a dangerous predator, especially if it’s bigger than them. So you have to show them first the toy is completely harmless before placing it inside their home to avoid unwanted incidents.
Other pets, especially larger animals or natural predators, can intimidate a budgie and cause fear. Dogs, cats, and even larger parrots may scare your beloved feathery companion by just being there. That’s like waking up in the morning and having a lion sleep before you.
No matter how domesticated it might be, you won’t feel safe. Even if the other pets are completely harmless, it’s best to keep them away from your budgies. Furthermore, other cage mates may be bullying your budgie, causing it to be in constant panic.
Unfamiliar objects in or near their cage can be unsettling for budgies, as they may perceive them as potential threats. Imagine if you suddenly found a huge unknown object inside your living when you entered your home; you are either happy that a family member brought you a lovely gift or run for your life. A budgie, more often than not, will choose the safer route until proven the new object is not a threat.
New people around the budgie can be a source of fear until the bird gets used to their presence. It may take a few weeks or more for your new pets to be comfortable around you.
Budgies can feel threatened by staring, as they may interpret it as predatory behavior. It’s normal to admire your new little budgie. Still, you shouldn’t look at it directly for a long time as the budgie might think you want to eat it.
Why would your pet think that? Well, that’s what cats do when they want to any mall creature they encounter. Your budgies instinctively know it, so refrain from doing it until they have bonded with you.
Loud or sudden noises can startle a budgie, causing fear and anxiety. Any strange sound may mean a predator is hiding nearby, waiting for a chance to jump at your feathered partner; at least, that’s what your budgies will think.
A significant change in your appearance or your budgies’ environment, such as a haircut or rearranged furniture, can be confusing and scary for a budgie. If you get a new attire or hairstyle, for example, your beloved pet might think you are a stranger, which has no relationship with it, so it might fly as far as it can while screaming if you try to feed or get close to it.
Some budgies may be scared of hands, especially if they have not been properly socialized or have had negative experiences with handling in the past. That’s often the case when you have gotten your budgies from a pet store or have been abandoned in a cage for a long time. They will associate hands with rough, unwanted handling and other bad things, which is unpleasant for them.
How can I Identify my Budgie's Fear?
It is a tricky thing to pinpoint the exact fear that is tormenting your budgie. Still, you can do it if you follow a few simple steps that require good observational skills.
Observe Their Environment
The first thing you have to do is determine if anything in your budgies’ immediate surroundings has changed. Pay attention to new toys, furniture, paintings, or anything else that might have changed recently.
Other pets you might have, like cats or dogs, can impact your budgie’s behavior. Find out if they have gotten too close to your birds regularly.
Cage mates can also be an issue if one or more are chasing or bullying your budgie around. Monitor their interactions and keep them separated if necessary.
Check for Predators
If your budgie’s cage is near a window, your pet may be frightened by outside predators, like hawks, eagles, or cats. Keep an eye on the area around the cage and consider moving it to a safer location.
Evaluate Noise Levels
Budgies can be sensitive to loud or sudden noises. So be mindful of anything that can make loud sounds, such as radios, televisions, or household appliances like blenders that could scare your budgies off.
If your budgies are afraid when you try to handle them, it could be because they’re not yet used to human interaction. Building trust with your budgie takes time and patience, so approach them slowly and gently to help them feel more at ease.
Look for Illness or Injury
Fearful behavior may be a sign of an underlying health issue. If your budgie’s fear seems unusual or unexplained, consult an avian veterinarian for a check-up.
What can I do to Calm my Scared Budgie?
There are a few things you can do to calm a panicking budgie. Depending on the trigger and the specific situation, you may be able to tranquilize your bird without much effort.
Create a Soothing Environment
Ensure your budgie’s cage is in a quiet, calm area of your home with a comfortable temperature and natural light. You can also add soft music or white noise to create a more relaxing atmosphere.
Remove all stressors causing your budgie to feel scared, such as loud noises, other pets, new toys, or unfamiliar objects.
Spend Time with Your Pet
Bond with your budgie by spending time near their cage, talking softly, and offering treats. This will build trust and encourage your budgie to feel secure in your presence.
Provide Nutritious Food
A well-balanced and nutritious diet is essential for your budgies’ overall well-being. Providing high-quality food will help keep them healthy and less prone to panic when something unexpected happens.
Begin the Taming Process
One of the best ways to help budgies keep their cool is by taming them. By teaching your birds that people and their hands are not dangerous, they will likely go to you instead of flying away when you approach them.
A simple way to do this is by gradually introducing your hand into the cage and allowing your budgie to get used to your presence. Be patient and consistent, using positive reinforcement and treats to build trust.
A budgie may be scared of everything due to various factors, such as seeing a toy or another object for the first time, loud noises, unfamiliar people or pets, predators, inadequate lighting, an unsuitable cage setup, or a lack of trust in its owner.
Still, it is possible to reduce and, in some cases, eliminate the cause of your budgie’s fear. As long as you pay attention and identify the cause of your pet’s panic attacks, you will be on your way to having a happy and fear-free budgie.