Bird owners commonly want to mimic their pet's natural habitat. When creating a cage setup for a parakeet, this is an excellent strategy. However, parakeets that are kept as pets are domesticated and not suited for life in the wild. Though bird owners may mistakenly believe their birds will enjoy fresh air or the sounds of other birds on the patio, leaving your parakeet unattended outside is extremely dangerous.
Parakeets, like most animals, are adapted to living in a limited range of climates. Because parakeets are tropical birds, they enjoy warmer temperatures. However, they cannot tolerate extended periods of being in direct sun. Parakeets left outside in their cages have no way of escaping intense sunlight and may die of heat exhaustion or respiratory problems. Conversely, many areas in the U.S. are too cold throughout most of the year for parakeets to be left outside. While it's fine to allow your parakeet some supervised fresh air, it should never be left outside unattended and should not be taken outside for extended periods of time, even with supervision.
Risk of Predation
In the wild, parakeets live in large flocks that help to protect them from predators. A pet parakeet, however, does not have the benefit of flockmates or flying and is therefore at a higher risk of predation. Even if your parakeet is in a cage, predators can still get to it. Snakes can slither in between the bars and some very large birds of prey can pick up your parakeet's entire cage. Other animals may attack your parakeet without killing it. Further, insects like mosquitoes, fire ants and wasps can sting and bite your parakeet. Because your parakeet cannot escape, it is left defenseless against these predators.
Some very well-trained parakeets never try to escape and are tightly bonded to their owners. However, even these parakeets will try to escape if left outside without a cage. You should never, under any circumstances, leave your parakeet unattended outside without a cage, even for a few seconds. Some parakeets may escape even if they are in a cage by chewing through the bars, knocking over the cage or as a result of another animal bumping the cage. The sounds and smells of the outdoors encourage escape behavior, and domesticated parakeets cannot survive in most areas of the U.S. if they do escape.
Parakeets are sensitive animals that startle easily. In many cases, the sounds and smells of the outdoors may be stressful to them, particularly when they have no way of escaping. Large birds of prey, loud flocks of birds and noises from cars are all intimidating to parakeets. In extreme cases, stress can cause health problems in your bird. Stress almost always causes behavioral problems. If you want to take your bird outside, remain with it so that your parakeet does not feel defenseless against a scary and unfamiliar world.
- "The Essential Parakeet"; Betsy Sikora Siino; 1998
- "Parakeets"; Nikki Moustaki; 2006
- "Parakeets for Dummies"; Nikki Moustaki; 2007
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.