Our Pet Budgie Died in My Hand

our budgieOur pet budgie died yesterday afternoon. I knew his time was near because he was showing the same signs our previous budgies did just before they passed and he was pretty old (for a budgie). Unlike our previous birds, this guy held on pretty long after displaying the initial signs. Perhaps he was able to last longer because this was our last of the once family of 5 and there were no other budgies to compete for food or territory in the cage. Or perhaps just because he was one stubborn bird.

I can’t remember if he hatched in 1997 or 1998, with his two siblings. If it was 1998, that would make him 11 years old. That’s not a bad run for a pet budgerigar. His father died after only 8 years, although we don’t know how old he was when we bought him. His mother and sister only lasted about 3 years each. His other sibling died only weeks after hatching, before we could determine its sex or get to know it. I wonder if it would have been more like its father or its mother. This one took more after his mother: cranky, stubborn, and didn’t like humans very much. Even so, I loved him a lot. He was an enjoyable little companion, if a bit on the noisy side. When he got too noisy, I’d just cover his cage with a thin blanket. It usually to calmed him.

The last several days, our little budgie was having difficulty moving around his cage. He still had a hearty appetite though, and would make his way back and forth from his favorite perch to the feeder several times throughout the day.

Yesterday, he was having trouble getting up on to the feeding spot, so I helped him up. He picked at some seeds for a while, then got back off and clumsily stumbled to the middle of the cage (floor). He sat there, kind of hunched over and laying down. I knew his body was giving out on him, he was exhausted, and could no longer make his way around the cage. I took him out and held him in my hand. My wife was in the room with me. This stubborn little bird who usually didn’t like being held, decided he’d fly out of my hands one final time. Weak as he was, he didn’t get far and came to a hard thud on the floor a few feet away. I was honestly surprised that he flew from my hand like that because he had let me hold him a few times without issue lately (in his weakened state).

On the floor laying on his back, he fluttered a little. I quickly picked him up and tried to free his left wing from being stuck under his left leg. It was too late though. That fall he took probably pushed him over the edge. He struggled to breathe while I held him. He literally took his last breath in my hand, as his eyes slowly shut about half way. I turned to my wife and said he’s dying. She told me to put him back in the cage and allow him finish dying in peace in there. I said, “You don’t understand – he just died in my hand, right now.”

Mrs. H. brought me a small box and I put him inside. We dug a hole and buried him near a bush in our side yard. Rest in peace, my little friend – you will be missed. I hope you enjoyed your time with us. It was a pleasure having you.

15 thoughts on “Our Pet Budgie Died in My Hand”

  1. Hi Gabrielle, sorry for your loss. I’ve gone through the same thing with pets several times so I know how it feels. My parakeet passed about 2 years ago and I watched it as well, it was very tough on us.

    Before that, I had a cockatiel for a few years before he moved on. I love birds and it’s quite apparent that you do too. We should chat about them sometime, I’ve had pet birds pretty much all my life.

    Pets may leave us physically but there will always be a piece of our heart that remembers their memory fondly. Take care

    1. Thanks for your support, Jessica. :) I appreciate it.

      We knew when we got our first parakeet in 1996 (their father) that they wouldn’t last forever. We didn’t expect a whole budgie family to come of it and that was a fun surprise. This was the last one of the family to go. Got lots of great memories though, and those will never go away. :)

      Funny you said we should chat about our birds sometime. Whenever I would talk on the phone, this little guy just LOVED to start chirping up a storm – to the point I could no longer hear the person I was chatting with on the phone. lol Usually had to leave the room to finish the conversation. Guess he wanted in on the phone call too.

  2. My little boy died in my hand today I’m so upset he must of fell off his perch in his sleep we woke up to all of his flight feathers out blood all over his wings we took him vets they gave us antibiotics and sent us home sunny was shaking his head all the time he started fitting I picked him up to calm him down because he was so friendly and loved human contact he just died in my hand I’m lost for words I feel so sad I don’t no what to do with myself

  3. Thank you very much for writing about your experience. I have a yellow harlequin budgerigar, whose time, I feel is very near. I woke up this evening to find him on his cage floor, very very weak. He seems to have regained a little bit of his strength, but I do not believe that he will be alive much longer. It has been, however, helpful to read your experience.

  4. Our last little budgie was sick for ages and kept falling off her perch. We assumed she had become allergic to millet so removed it. She then perked right up. After a few weeks she kept dropping off her perch. Sometimes would sit for ages on the bottom, others she got straight back up. Then she had weeks where she was OK again and chirpy. This morning we found her lying hunched up in the corner of her cage. We knew this was going to be her last day. We got her out gently, laying her on a cushion, giving her soft strokes and soothing words. She kept trying to put her head up. After a few minutes we laid her back in her cage and placed her blanket over the cage and left her to slip away peacefully. Farewell Jo. We had you in our lives for just over 10 years, which is amazing. We buried her in a little box under the bushes in the back garden, where her brother and sister also lie. We will miss you. RIP little one. Fly safely in Heaven.

  5. the same happened to our little boy oscar.he was a lazy happy bird for the last year but we noticed him breathing heavy one day and he fell to the bottom of his cage hunched over pecking.we rushed him to the vets.they weighed him where he tried to fly but couldnt and then he died in my hand.the hardest bit was why but he was at least 5 and i have come to terms it was probaly just his tie.we have bought a new baby called pepples but will never forget little oscar.

  6. My budgie “Bubbles” turned 15 in sept , the last couple of weeks he has been having harder time climbing in and out of cage , and when he sleeps he is slouching over perch and almost tipping .. He catches himself and starts talking away , until seconds later closing eyes and almost tipping over again .
    He is our first budgie and got him as baby from pet store
    We open cage in morning and close it at night and he has always been free to come and go as he pleases .. We love him lots , and he is still happy and sweet but wondering if that is a sign that he won’t be here much longer . I know 15 is old for budgie . Our dog is 14 this week and they grew up together :S Just worried about budgie lately

  7. I lost one of my two little budgies last sunday, nearly a week. After being poorly for a long time, been to various vets, lots of medication. I decided he was just too weak to take him to the vets again, too stressful. On that sunday morning early, I just knew it was his last day. So I prepared myself to sit with him in my hands for comfort and warmth, for as long as it would take. He seem relieved to be in my hands, in the quiet in the bedroom in semi darkness. I sat with him from 9.0am to 4.05pm when he eventually passed. During this time he stirred 4 times, tried to flap his wings, he was so weak he couldn’t fold them back, so I helped him. All the time I was praying for him to be released from his sick little body. Then, he made a last effort of flapping his wings, his eyes seemed to get large, then he stopped, the end. I sat with him in my hands for quite some time after. I was heart broken. But now my heart aches for the other one left behind. He seemed ok, but today very quiet, kissing his mirror, but the weather has been dull, they both were quiet when weather gloomy, but he does perk up when it is sunny. He is eating a little more. Now I don’t know whether to downsize, with some toys. so it will be totally different for him, or would it be stressful? or do i get him some toys for the large cage? Although early days yet, I feel perhaps getting a new cage may be better, maybe he will adapt better than i think. I know I am still grieving for the other little bird, but know I have to do something to alleviate any grieving for the one left. I am very very sad, I just need a hug and some supportive advice. Thank you for reading this message?

  8. I am here watching my parakeet Bamm Bam. Sitting on a perch not ,his favorite swing. Not drinking water very unusual. Always amazed me how much water he would drink being such a little bird. I think it is old age . He was a rescued bird and was in poor shape In fact I was able to nurse him to health almost 9 years ago Don’t know his age because they didn’t know to tell me. He looks weak and not able to balance himself. He is with his mate who seems to be picking on him, I think it best to separate them ,they don’t like to be held so whichever one I get to first….going to be a long night :-(

    1. Hi Ireneie. I’m sorry to hear your parakeet, Bamm Bam, isn’t doing well. Probably a smart move to separate the two for a while. I hope his health improves. <3

  9. we had an amazing little budgie called sam. he brought so much joy into our lives and would wolf whistle at my middle daughter who is severly autistic and cant speak herself even tho she is16.sam became unwell a week ago and we took him too the vets where he was given antibiotics. However sam passed away tonight and was only 4 and upset in our house is an understatetment as little man brought so much joy into our home and lives and will be greatly missed.

  10. Hello… I read with sadness these posts, had to add mine.. my little one passed away on Sunday just gone, 12th June.. i uncovered him, and he was hanging upside down from his perch (was standing when i uncovered him), then fell to the cage floor, started keeling over, so i took him out of his cage, and placed him against my chest, he tried to flap his wings, but was weak…

    i laid him on my hand, I wasn’t expecting him to die.. to be honest… but his neck relaxed and i was like no.. no.. don’t you dare… and i stroked him… after about 30seconds he started to just slowly close his eyes, and that was that.

    He went before his time as he was barely 2.3- 4 years old. I thought about it all later, and do recall hearing him in the last few weeks falling off his perch to the cage floor quite regularly, at least once a day (who knows how many while i was at work).

    I thought nothing of it at the time, but reading all this i think perhaps he was having little strokes or blackouts.. poor thing. He’d also lost feathers on his belly, i can only assume this was due to him falling repeatedly?

    I never saw him pulling feathers. He was a very timid bird, barely came out his cage, couldn’t really fly the last year of his life (i tried, but he would just go diagonally down to the floor).

    I miss him dearly. It is so quiet I cannot be without one, so at the weekend will go buy another (maybe two!)

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