grooming birds

In the first photo, Jessica captured Sparty and Belle working their feathers over with their beaks. Though parakeets have a sort of retracting beak, unlike their larger broad-tail parrot cousins, when they take it out it is a serious piece of hardware. That’s good for eating seeds, of course, but it’s also useful in keeping their beautiful feathers clean–which they do very well by grooming themselves vigorously several times a day.
The second picture is just a nice group shot.

(photos by Jessica McKeown)


Striker (green) grooms Belle (blue)
Striker (green) grooms Belle (blue)

Parakeets are highly social birds; they travel in enormous flocks sometimes in their native land of Australia; and in homes they are likely to form close bonds with one another, and often the humans in the house as well.
Grooming is often thought to be a social behavior; it not only helps clean those hard to reach places and feels good, but also conveys affection and status to the bird being groomed.

parakeets love millet

Sparty, Ava and Belle going after millet

Striker eating millet

I always ask my birds “Which bird likes millet?” when I give it to them because the answer is–of course–all of them. Ava and Sparty, normally very shy, can be lured out of the cage as soon as they see Belle and Striker out there going to town on spray millet.
Of course they can’t have millet and other seed-based diet all the time. I feed them fruit pellets for the most part.