« PoprzedniaDalej »
are very fond of oats and grass-seed in the ear. I always put water into the cage in which I kept mine, but they did not drink much, and I never saw them bathe. They delighted in being let out of their cage, and would run along the green bars of the Venetian blinds, warbling and chirping to each other all the time; but when once allowed their liberty, they were very loth to return to their confined quarters, and were so crafty, that if constrained by hunger to go into the cage for a minute, they would pop out of it again before any one could shut them in. These birds frequently breed in England in December or January. They do not build a nest, but lay their four eggs in a piece of wood with a hole in the centre, which they will hollow out till deep enough, or in a cocoa-nut prepared for the purpose. They like to go through a hole to their resting-place, and to be as retired as possible, therefore I should doubt the wisdom of taking away the first eggs and substituting false ones till the four are laid. The reason given for this practice is, that the hen lays every other day only, so that the young would be some days apart in hatching. She sits seventeen days, and feeds her young, I believe, as Pigeons do, disgorging the food into their mouths. Budgerigars should have a cage four feet long, and twenty inches in height and width. I put mine into my Canaries' large winter cage for a time, and they agreed very well with them, or rather, they never attempted to interfere with them. I have heard of a Grass Parrakeet, however, that was put into a cage with a Canary, and fell upon it and killed it instantly. Groundsel is said to be good for these birds, and lettuce injurious. Mine never touched either, but occasionally ate some bread soaked in milk, with maw-seed sprinkled over it; and this is, I believe, often given to sickly birds with good effect.
These Parrakeets are often called the Australian Love Birds, and are consequently confounded with the true Love
Birds, which are very different: little round birds, with the shortest of fan-shaped tails. The common BRAZILIAN LOVE BIRD (Psittacula passerina) is grass-green, with the under-side of the wings blue, and a patch of blue on the back. The AFRICAN LOVE BIRD (Agapornis pullaria) is somewhat larger, has the bill, forehead, cheeks, and throat red; and a red tail, barred with black, and tipped with green. There are many other species; they all live upon canary-seed, and do not require a large cage. They are never happy apart, and sit as close as possible together, continually fondling and caressing each other.
These are pretty, gentle, quiet birds, and easily tamed. They are very affectionate, and should never be kept in solitary confinement, for they are unhappy without their mates, unless they become extremely attached to their owners. The only species commonly kept in the house are the Turtle Dove and the Collared Turtle, which require warmth at night, but abundance of air during the day. They will very soon become tame enough to follow their owner about the garden without attempting to fly away. They should have a wicker cage, and be taught to return to it at night. They wash and bathe a good deal, and require plenty of gravel and old mortar on the floor of their cage, and should have bay salt mixed with their food, as they are subject to diseased throats, for which this is a remedy. They feed principally on corn, pease, and vetches, and will also eat hemp, canary, and millet-seed, bread, firseeds, and berries. Both the Turtle and Collared Turtle breed readily in confinement, and feed their young from their crops as Pigeons do.