One of the great joys of pet ownership is companionship with an animal. Although we speak different languages, many people claim that animals can sense their moods, especially sadness.
Proceedings of the Royal Society stated that birds demonstrate empathy. In the case of budgies, this ability comes from a steady routine of watching humans for their own safety.
Budgies watch us intently to ensure we’re not going to harm them. As affection grows between owner and budgie, the bird will respond to negative emotions.
How a budgie reacts to an owner feeling sad depends on the strength of the bond and the budgie’s nature. If you have yet to bond with your budgie, it’ll likely remain indifferent to your unhappiness, although it may mirror any body language.
If you have successfully bonded with a budgie, it may attempt to reassure you by showing affection.
Can Budgies Sense Human Emotion?
Budgies aren’t psychic – they can’t sense emotion, per se, or read auras or energy signatures. Your budgie will invariably know if you’re crying or feeling unhappy due to their intense observation.
In the wild, budgies are prey animals, so they must remain constantly vigilant about their surroundings, prepared to flee terrain at a moment’s notice.
So, a budgie watches you constantly, memorizing all your habits, movements, and facial expressions. Over time, the budgie will come to recognize and learn your frowns and tears.
This helps the budgie prepare itself for what comes next. However, the question remains – how do budgies know when an owner is sad? There are three main giveaways, including:
Routines and Behaviors
As budgies watch you intently, they’ll pick up on your body language. This will be spotted if you have good posture but are slouching because you’re feeling sad. Equally, a budgie will notice if you fail to perform a regular body language routine, such as waving hello to it as you enter.
The reaction to this depends on how your mood impacts your behaviors. Budgies rely upon routine for happiness, so don’t let this slip.
If your depression and sadness mean you miss scheduled mealtimes, play, or exercise opportunities, the budgie will grow anxious about your spiraling mood.
One of the most significant consequences of birds studying humans is they differentiate our faces.
Avian Biology Research stated that pigeons could tell humans apart by sight, and there’s no reason to believe that budgies are different.
Budgies have good memories and learn what different facial expressions mean. You can put this to the test with a Pavlovian test for your budgie.
Give the bird a broad smile when you hand it a treat, open the cage door for exercise, or offer petting. The next time you smile, the budgie will likely chirp, sing, and hop from foot to foot in excitement because it expects something fun to happen.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, do budgies know when you cry? Crying involves a unique range of facial expressions, noises, and erratic body language.
This will be memorized. The budgie may not understand why you’re crying, but it’ll acknowledge that it’s rarely good news when you become tearful and unhappy.
Language and Vocal Tone
We have a budgie’s ability to determine and differentiate vocal tones in humans. It can be obvious when we’re feeling sad by the inflection in our voices, whether by accident or design.
Imagine that you’ve interviewed for your dream job and just heard back from the employer. The tone you use when announcing, “I got the job,” will sound very different from one of, “I didn’t get the job.” A budgie will pick up on this and respond accordingly.
Like facial expressions, budgies remember the behavior behind vocal tones. Budgies respond best to upbeat, sing-song voices that connect with their love of rhythmic music.
According to Cell, such sounds leave budgies compelled to bob their heads and dance. Speaking in a bright tone will likely leave your budgie chirping and singing along. The bird assumes you’re in a good mood and are approaching to bring some fun to the budgie’s life.
A budgie is less likely to respond if you speak in a dull, monotone voice due to sadness.
How Do Budgies React To Human Sadness?
As discussed, the reaction of a budgie to an owner in distress depends upon the bond you share. If you’ve not yet earned the trust and respect of your budgie, it’ll be indifferent to your sorrow at best.
Some budgies respond to low moods by making noise. Resist the urge to tell your budgie off because it’s trying to get your attention. This may be to seek reassurance – the budgie wants to know why you’re upset. It may simply be requesting an opportunity to leave the cage and cheer you up.
If your budgie loves you, expect it to react when it senses sadness. A budgie that bonds with its owner is unlikely to stand by if the human is unhappy, so it’ll look to show affection as a supportive gesture.
It’ll likely be impossible to permanently hide your emotions from a budgie, so don’t always attempt to remain happy-go-lucky and smile. Your budgie will tolerate ups and downs if you meet its needs.
Just be mindful of how your budgie reacts to your emotions. Every bird is unique and responds differently to a maudlin mood emanating from its favorite human.
Budgies are natural imitators, so be careful how your emotional state impacts your bird. If your sadness manifests as low energy, your budgie may become lethargic and lose interest in toys or exercise.
More concerning is if your low mood leads to irritability. If you start raising your voice in front of your budgie, expect it to respond in kind. The bird may begin to loudly squawk at you or display aggression toward humans in the home or conspecifics in the cage.
If you’ve successfully bonded with your budgie, it won’t want to stand aside while you feel sad. The budgie will likely seek to cheer you up by showing affection through nuzzling.
While the budgie exercises outside the cage, it’ll land on your shoulder and nuzzle your neck. If the budgie is feeling particularly affectionate, it may also groom or preen you.
While budgies can produce emotional reactions, they’re still primarily governed by instinct.
A budgie’s initial response to sadness from a human owner may be one of fear. The budgie knows something is amiss and worries about what this means.
The bird wonders if your sadness means danger is afoot or something significant is about to change. Warning signs that your sense of gloom is frightening your budgie include:
- Hiding from you in the cage
- Loud, intense squawking
- Flapping around the cage or attempting to fly in a small, enclosed space
- Pacing up and down the cage
- Panting and struggling for breath
If your budgie shows signs of stress and anxiety, do your utmost to reassure the bird. Park your own emotions as best you can and speak to the budgie in a high, light tone of voice. Sing if you can face it, or at least play a cheerful song over a speaker.
This will lift the budgie’s mood and set its mind at rest. Once the budgie is calm and reassured that you’ll continue meeting its needs, it’s more likely to focus on making you feel better.
Budgies are more than capable of understanding human emotion, especially sadness. This special bond between humans and birds is something to cherish.