Reflections On Aussie Birds and Birdcages

by Patrick Muir on July 22, 2013

In Australia, we are blessed to have in the wild most of the caged birds you see in pet shops including cockatiels, cockatoos, parakeets and many finches including the ever popular zebra finches.

Our Huge Bird Cage Back Home

In the mild climate of most of Australia, large aviaries (cages) in the backyard are commonplace. In fact ours was an outdoor room about 8′ X 10′ where we bred plenty of parakeets, but we call them budgerigars or more commonly budgies. The building had three covered sides, corrugated iron roof and a chicken wire front with small door for us. Something similar but ours was very simple and rustic: w/ permission

They were so easy to breed because all my Dad did was make a wooden box about 12″ X 18″, put a divider panel in the middle and drill two holes in the front. We had some old tree branches in the ground that served as perches and we put plenty of nesting material on the branches for their use.

Budgies flew all over my grandparents farm in the grasses and small brush. In the wild, you will only find the blue and green. The whites with small color splotches and yellows that you see in pet stores stand out in the bush and are quickly lost to predators. You can’t plan to breed the yellows and whites and expect similar progeny because they’ll always revert back to blue and green. My fondest memory is when the chicks had developed feathers, my Dad opened one of our boxes to discover a white, a really light blue and an adorable gray color he had never seen before. All from the pedestrian blues and greens.

Cast of Other Characters

Here’s some lesser known Aussie favorites:

Almost everyone is familiar with the common pet store cockatoo with what is known as the sulphur crest. But he can’t hold a candle to the Major Mitchell cockatoo as you can see here:

A close relative of the cocky is the galahs. Like the cockatoos they fly over in flocks particularly at dusk filling the air with loud squarking and carrying on. Their rose breasts and grey wings against a blue sky can be a thrill if you plug up your ears.


One of the true standouts of the Australia bush has to be the rainbow lorikeet. Can you imagine waking up one morning seeing some of these at your birdbath?


The Ultimate Bird Cage

So needless to say, I’m a freak when it comes to vintage bird cages so imagine my lust when this 1950′s British bird cage showed up in my daily subscription to the design site One King’s Lane. The dimensions were an impressive 43″ L X 22″ W X 53″H. I had to include it here for posterity sake and must stop wishing awful things would happen to the twit that bought my cage. Oh, by the way the twit paid $1,250 for the honor to own my cage.

So here is my cage some rich twit has in their possession in all it’s beauty.



So enjoy my cage, you twit, and may bad karma follow you until I get over my great loss. If I ever do…

Patrick's Garden

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

New Hampshire Gardener August 23, 2013 at 7:57 am

My grandmother was crazy about birds and at one time had 10 cages full of parakeets and finches. She often let “bluie” her special parakeet fly around her house, but one day he landed in her chair and she didin’t see him and sat on him. After that there were no more flying birds in her house! Thanks for the memories.


Patrick August 23, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Ouch, what a way to go? She must have felt awful. We had a parakeet when I was a teenager who would perch on my finger and would rest on the back of couch while we were watching TV. Until…a mystery black cat showed up on our doorstep one Halloween and my Mum gave it a saucer of milk and she never left. So the poor bird lived terrorized for the rest of its miserable existence. But Kitty was a joy for the whole family and probably lived about ten years.


MrBrownThumb August 23, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Birds were probably the only “pet” I never had growing up that I actually wanted. That’s pretty interesting about the coloration that you find in them the wild versus the ones in captivity. I figured they would be common in the wild too. BTW, did you ever see (read about) the parakeets that live in Chicago? There’s a whole colony of them that have managed to survive our winters and take up residence on the South Side of the City.


Patrick August 23, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Hadn’t heard about the Chicago Monk parakeets which are a South American species. The key to their survival is they are the only birds that raise their young and continue to live in their well constructed twig nests which can measure 6′ across and house ten pairs. Thanks for the fascinating “heads up”.


snowbird August 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Ahhhh, you’ll hate me for this, but I hate to see a caged bird, they were all meant to fly…and once domesticated….it’s a never ending cycle, and there are good owners and bad…..and I’ve seen the abuse of birds in tiny cages.

btw…I have subscribed, but am not getting email notifications of your posts….where am I going wrong?


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