Parakeets make great pets. They are gentile and docile, easy to tame and they are a great addition to any family home. However, you may have considered releasing your parakeet to the wild. It could be down to a number of different factors but the question still remains; is this a good idea? Can you safely release a parakeet into the wild? Having owned numerous parakeets over the years and often wondered this question many times myself, I decided to conduct some research. Here is what I have been able to find.
So, can parakeets survive in the wild? Parakeets can survive in the wild, but this is generally unlikely. If they can survive, how long they can survive, and how well they do in the wild is entirely dependent on a number of factors including local climate, environment, time in captivity, local predators and if the bird(s) were once wild or were bred in captivity.
While your parakeet may survive, it is generally not advised nor recommended that you release them.
Not only can this endanger their life, but it can lead to environmental issues and disturbances to the natural ecosystem.
The parakeets that we own as pets have been domesticated over years. Many of which have been bred in captivity.
For us to understand if our domesticated parakeet could survive in the wild, we must understand how their wild equivalents live.
We can there have a look at the factors involved with survival and how we could expect them to get on.
How Do Wild Parakeets Live?
The Parakeet is the most popular of all pet birds, but in the wild it lives in warm and dry climates like the Himalayas, much of India, parts of Africa and the outback in Australia.
For much of the time, they live in small flocks (a couple of hundred strong) sharing information on where the best food and water can be found.
These small search parties look for the wild grass seeds that make up the parakeets staple diet. They typically take the lead from other grazing animals and other birds for finding ripe grass.
In time, small groups of parakeets become huge swarms.
They gradually build up to several thousand before getting into the hundred of thousands number range. Acting like a super-organism, pulling their knowledge together to find the best sources of food and water
Wild parakeets can survive weeks without water and when they do drink it’s quick. This is because while they are drinking they are exposed to predators.
They tend to be nomadic; moving in response to the climate in search of food and water that the land can offer.
Larger birds like Kite are known predators, and parakeets have to routinely fend them off and look to avoid them altogether.
The climates in where parakeets typically live are some of the most erratic of anywhere you would find on earth.
When drought is severe and widespread, life is a struggle and young parakeets do not often survive. Breeding stops until a more stable water source becomes available once more.
Parakeets often seek out trees for a good home. The early birds get the hollows out of reach from predators on the ground. However, there are always threats from other birds including Falcons.
A parakeet society is often comprised of several loose colonies and there are no arguments over territory.
Yet, there often is with other birds who are also competing for similar conditions for housing. This of course, is another potential area of conflict.
Factors That Impact Survival
Whether a domesticated parakeet can survive in the wild will depend on a number of factors. Unfortunately there is no black or white answer as to whether they would definitely live and how long for.
This is because for the most part, it is hard to tell whether a parakeet was caught from the wild (and therefore has experience and a tendency to fend for itself) or it was bred in captivity. For the latter, these parakeets run a much higher risk of death if released.
Moreover, you should consider that where one parakeet can be released can drastically differ from another.
Here are the most important factors that will play a large role in how a parakeet would respond to being released into the wild:
- Access and availability to food and water
- Ability to learn the landscape
- Local Predators
- Ability to adapt to the hardships of the wild,
- Avoiding diseases from other birds
- How they were born (caught from the wild, or bred in captivity)
- Flying prowess
- General state of health and strength
- Ability to avoid or overcome predators
Why Parakeets Are Unlikely To Survive In The Wild
With these factors in mind, you can clearly see that a released parakeet has quite a lot to contend with.
First and foremost, they are not equipped to deal with the hardships that come with living in the wild. They have not had to adapt nor develop knowledge or responses to ensure their survival.
Physically, their wing muscles are unlikely to have developed enough or to the point of peak flying efficiency, thereby severely reducing their stamina and ability to navigate the landscape.
For this reason, a domesticated parakeet will struggle to find food, know where to find water, or may not even be able to cope with the climate and conditions.
They also may be unawares that predators even exist and how to react accordingly when they come into contact with them. Chances are, they will most likely die.
If the parakeet was a previously wild caught bird on the other hand, their chances of survival are higher (albeit not for certain). It of course depends how quickly that they can adapt and relearn their previous way of life.
Why You Should Not Release a Parakeet Into The Wild
The first and foremost reason that we have already covered is for ethical reasons.
It can be outright irresponsible to let a parakeet to go with no certainty as to whether they will and can survive. You are exposing your parakeet to a lifetime of hardships that they are likely to fail to overcome.
With survival chances aside, there are also some other considerations around setting your parakeet free.
Setting them loose into an environment where they are not native may be illegal. There are certain laws and legislation in place to protect ecosystems and as such, you could be breaching the law by setting your parakeet free.
This can come with a hefty fine if you was to be caught or the release was traced back to you.
Additionally, there is always the possibility that your parakeet has acquired a disease or infection during captivity, that they may release to other wild birds. This can cause carnage and havoc to the local ecosystem which is of course bad for us all.
What To Do Instead
While it may appear humane and preferable for your bird to be released into a more natural environment, the truth is that its unlikely you can do this successfully.
So instead, if you feel sorry for your parakeet the best thing you can do is enrich their lives and give them the best possible life that they can have in captivity.
Ensure you get a large enough cage which enables them to get a lot of exercise, fly around and flap their wings.
The Prevue Wrought Iron Cage is a popular favorite of parakeet owners that you can get over at Amazon for a great price. It’s very large feels open to them and it is easy to clean too (which will indirectly benefit them).
You’ll also want to ensure that you provide them a fun and varied diet that include an abundance of seeds, vegetables, cooked or raw, that you make fresh every day. This will prevent nutritional deficiencies and health issues for them.
Additionally, you will need to provide mental stimulation regularly and you can do this with a range of toys (like this one).
Be sure to interact and socialize with your birds frequently too. They are naturally social birds that require a lot of attention. You can talk to them, sit with them and even gently hold them when they feel comfortable enough.
What To Do With A Parakeet You No Longer Want
Truth be known, you may not want to look after your parakeet anymore. That’s fair enough and fine too. They are high maintenance and noisy so you may be in the position whereby you do not want to house them anymore.
Now we know that releasing into the wild is not a good idea; what can you do instead?
There are two main options open to you, the first serving as a more temporary measure:
Option #1: Build an Outside Space
If you have the space and your local climate is warm enough, you can build or buy a flight aviary outside. This will afford you more space inside your home and will also reduce their noise somewhat. This is one of the best aviary’s available on Amazon.
If you did live in an environment that has varied seasons, you can always leave your birds outside during the warm summer months, and then move them indoors when it gets cold again and during the winter.
Option #2: Give Them Away
The second thing you can do is give your parakeets away. You may have a friend or fellow bird lover who wants to take them on.
Failing this, there are bird and parrot rescues which can take them in. Just make sure you identify a reputable and knowledgeable one. This will ensure your bird(s) will be re-homed with the best potential new owner.
Ultimately if you are not enjoying having them, you cannot afford to give them what they need, or are not prepared for the amount of time, effort and investment they will require, this is your best option, both for them, and for yourself.
Can Parakeets survive in the wild? Some do; but these are existing wild parakeets that differ in many ways to your pet parakeet.
They have the knowledge, experience, strength and know-how to survive. They migrate and live in an optimal environment that has all the food/water supply and the lowest levels of threat and predators as possible.
They were born into it, and as such, know how to navigate the landscape.
Could your domesticated parakeet do the same? Maybe, but its not for sure. It depends on a lot of factors but their chances of survival are dramatically lowered. For the most part it is unlikely that your local environment will suffice.
Letting your parakeets free in the wild is not recommended and in some cases can be illegal.
If you no longer want your parakeet, giving them away to a new owner or a bird rescue/sanctuary is the way to go.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.