Small budgies are known for their meaningful blinks.
Budgies have three eyelids. The pair that are familiar to humans are located at the top and bottom of the eyes, closing toward the eye’s center. The nictitating membrane (third eyelid) is attached to the inner eye, sweeping horizontally across.
Slow blinking usually means that a budgie is showing trust and affection. Budgies use their third eyelid (nictating membrane) to clear away debris and keep their eyes moist.
If a budgie’s eyes seem irritated and it blinks repeatedly, it could have conjunctivitis.
Researchers once believed that the nictitating membrane allowed budgies to see better due to its refractive abilities.
However, according to Trends in Neurosciences, the nictitating membrane is only there to act as a way to protect the eyes from dirt and debris so that birds don’t need to lose focus.
Budgies blink to lubricate their eyes and sweep away debris. However, their blinking can have additional meanings, aside from being functional or survival-related.
Blinking can be a form of avian communication, letting you know your budgie’s intentions, feelings, and mood. If your budgie blinks at you, it can have the following meanings:
It’s common among prey animals to use blinking as a sign of trust. That’s because blinking removes their ability to see predators and detect external threats.
Blinking is perilous for birds because it leads to a loss of focus. Consequently, birds have evolved to limit their danger, which is why they can sleep resting half of their brain with one eye open.
According to Scientific Reports, researchers found that peacocks time their blinks to coincide with shifts in gaze because shift gazing already limits the bird’s ability to see.
So, budgies and peacocks alike combine these two vulnerabilities into one instance. This ensures they don’t need to experience a blind spot twice or more than necessary.
In short, when your budgie blinks at you, it has decided that you’re not a threat.
Budgies use blinking to communicate with each other, including when they don’t want to fight.
You’ll probably notice this at the following times:
- A budgie feels threatened
- Another budgie is playing too roughly
- A second budgie is getting too close
If the second budgie notices that the first is getting heated, it may back down to signal that it didn’t mean any harm. Both budgies will blink to signal that neither wants to escalate the situation.
After all, blinking means that a budgie is vulnerable to threats and harm. By blinking at each other, both budgies are saying that they trust each other not to attack, de-escalating any conflict.
This can translate to owners. It’s common for owners to unwittingly spook or threaten their budgies. After all, budgies are small, so it’s easy for humans to be too loud, move quickly, or get too close.
Owners should immediately stop and move away when a budgie feels threatened. It’ll acknowledge this by blinking at you, signaling that it wants to deescalate the situation.
Budgies can look and blink at you when they’re concentrating, which enables them to see more clearly and absorb more detail. If a budgie is shown a new object, it may stare at it intently and then blink.
Budgies are smart creatures, so they’ll absorb information. If they’re concentrating hard, you may notice them blinking at the object for several minutes.
If the budgie does this at you, it’s likely trying to identify something on or about your face.
Much like purring with cats, budgies will blink to show they’re enjoying themselves. Along with blinking, you may notice other hints that your budgie is relaxed, including the following:
A budgie that blinks is demonstrating that it likes your company, feels comfortable around you, and is happy with you. For humans, this would be the equivalent of a smile.
Not all budgies are affectionate in the same way. You may notice that budgies which blink fondly aren’t as physically affectionate as others.
Instead, your budgie may display happiness using these actions:
A blinking budgie may be so relaxed that it becomes sleepy. It’s a sign of contentment, and with contentment comes relaxation, which can cause a budgie to take a nap.
After a long day or during the early morning, you may notice your budgie blinking more slowly. This may permit a budgie to unwind sufficiently to close its eyes and sleep.
If your budgie is blinking abnormally, it may have irritated eyes. These can be due to debris getting trapped in the eye, low humidity levels, and illness.
Let’s explore the various explanations in greater detail:
Budgies blink more often and rapidly if something is in their eye.
This can be due to a minor problem, like excessive dust temporarily in the air. Also, it can be from dry eyes, resulting in irritation that causes eye inflammation.
Dust in the eyes often clears up on its own. However, if you notice this happening frequently, check for severe irritation that can lead to bacterial infection.
Dry eyes can be remedied if you ensure that a budgie’s room is humid enough. Budgies need humidity levels of 50-80%. When humidity levels are too low for a prolonged time, they can affect the eyes.
On occasion, dry eyes can signify sickness, such as conjunctivitis (red eye). This refers to any irritation of a budgie’s eyes, with prominent symptoms like.
- Swelling in the eyes or face
- Cloudy or glassy eyes
- Crusting on legs or face
- Debris on the cornea
- Light sensitivity
A sign of sickness is when a budgie doesn’t have a relaxed posture while blinking. If it appears tense, unbalanced, or flustered
Also, look for other physical symptoms, such as:
- Puffed up feathers
- General weakness
- Sleeping more than usual
- Feather loss
- Loss of appetite
If your budgie is displaying these symptoms, schedule a veterinary appointment.