My budgies, wild birds and disease.

I have two happy, healthy budgies and I’d like to keep them that way. With the nice weather I’ll be having the (securely screened) windows open sometimes. My budgies only go into their cages when it’s bedtime and their wings aren’t clipped so they can go wherever they want including the windowsill.

On the other side of one of those windows is a bird feeder which is heavily used by the wild birds. I was thinking how nice it will be for my budgies to be able to sit so close to the wild birds and watch and talk to them but then I started wondering about diseases.

Is it ok to let them near the wild birds or is that a really bad idea?

When I was little we had a budgie and we’d often put his whole cage outside in nice weather.

Anyone? Beuller?

Putting a whole bird cage outside can be good for little birds (Sunshine! Fresh air! Things to look at!) but leaves them vulnerable to mosquitoes and West Nile Virus. Unfortunately, there are no safe bug repellents for birds.

Contact with wild birds can lead to disease transmission - bacteria, viruses, parasites. Now, a window screen (make sure it’s intact and budgie-proof) can act as a partial barrier, your birds won’t be able to get into fights with other birds, it will protect them from mosquitoes, and in any case wild birds won’t be very inclined to associate with oddly colored strangers (from their perspective). The risk is probably minimal, but slightly more than not letting them sit in a screened window.

Keep in mind that brightly colored members of the parrot family (which includes budgies) will attract predator attention. I let my birds sit in a window of the house (just a pane, not screened) which they love, but we’ve had owls and small hawks hit that window with some force attempting to snatch our little friends away. At the very least this will alarm your birds.

Interesting! There’s a Sharp-shinned Hawk that hangs around here and does get the odd bird at the feeder. I guess I’ll give it a bit more thought.