Budgies are energetic birds that are known for displaying a range of interesting behaviors. You should only be concerned if your budgie constantly walks in circles or does so for several minutes every day.
A budgie will constantly walk in circles if it’s stressed, sick, bored, or scared. Sometimes, walking, running, or spinning around in circles can mean that your budgie is having a seizure or stroke.
If your budgie is bored, let it outside its cage or give it more toys. However, a scared budgie may pace in circles when meeting new people or seeing a frightening object.
When unwell, a budgie may walk in circles to hide its illness.
Why Is My Budgie Running Around In Circles?
Budgies are known for engaging in certain behaviors and to keep themselves entertained. They may hang upside down, bob and dance, and run in circles.
A budgie turning in circles is nothing to worry about most of the time. However, it should happen for no more than a few seconds and be accompanied by other happy budgie behavior.
The problems start when your budgie runs around in circles constantly. If that’s all it ever does, or it doesn’t appear happy, it could be your budgie’s way of showing distress.
This unhappiness may be caused by the following:
According to Applied Animal Behaviour Science, captive birds, including budgies, exhibit stereotypical behaviors when stressed or frustrated.
These behaviors include:
- Pacing around their cages
- Tapping their toes
- Swinging their heads
- Running around in circles
Some budgies exhibit these behaviors to stimulate themselves because boredom frustrates and stresses them out. At times, an illness or recent change in the surroundings could explain the stress.
If you think your budgie is running around in circles due to stress, you need to identify the stressor. It’s possible that your budgie is bored, but it may also be sick or unhappy in its current surroundings.
According to Watchbird, if you have recently changed your budgie’s environment or shifted it to a new home or location, that may unsettle it.
A sick budgie may pace in circles because it’s experiencing physical discomfort. This is similar to the way humans tend to pace when they’re in pain, as it acts as a distraction and a way to self-relieve discomfort.
When budgies fall sick, they disguise the signs of their illness as a defense mechanism. They like to appear healthy, so predators don’t see them as easy targets.
Staying on the move and pacing around shows that the budgie can still move if the need arises.
Ataxia is a disease that hampers the function of the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. According to the British Veterinary Association, ataxia causes uncoordinated movements and recumbence.
Within the nervous system, the brain, spinal cord, and the inner ear experience the most damage. This damage leaves the brain unable to perceive the physical position of the head, limbs, and body.
It also leaves the brain incapable of coordinating movement. When the musculoskeletal system is damaged, the muscles cannot respond to the signals sent by the brain. Hence, your budgie will be uncoordinated.
If your budgie has ataxia, it can’t coordinate its voluntary muscles. It’ll look clumsy and stand with its legs spread apart for balance. It may also use its beak as a hook on the side of its cage for balance.
Budgies that are severely ataxic cannot sit on their perch without falling off and may be unable to walk without falling over or stumbling.
Here are the symptoms of ataxia in budgies:
- Standing with legs spread wide apart for balance
- Using its beak to hang onto the cage for balance and to remain standing
- Uncoordinated body movements, such as running or walking around in circles
- Excessive sleepiness
- Falling off from the perch
- Difficulty breathing
You’ll realize that a budgie is having difficulty breathing when you observe the following:
- Difficulty stretching the neck when leaning forward to breathe
- Open-mouthed breathing
- Bobbing the tail with each breath
It’s normal for budgies to entertain themselves with inexplicable behaviors.
The problem comes when these odd behaviors are all your budgie does. This can indicate that it’s bored, to the point of destructively creating its own entertainment. Running around in circles without stopping is a bad sign.
Budgies are intelligent creatures, but they often receive an unhealthy lack of mental stimulation in captivity. So, find new ways to engage it. Provide toys it can play with and change them every few days.
Show concern if your budgie is usually happy but suddenly begins to run around in circles in your presence. This may also happen in the presence of another family member or pet, which can mean that your budgie is scared.
You or a family member could be making it feel afraid by wearing something or doing something that it doesn’t like. For example, if you are wearing a brightly colored shirt or have changed your hairstyle, it might be confusing the budgie. It might not recognize you or realize that you’re inexplicably different, causing a fear response.
Fear leads to stress, and the budgie may try to express this overwhelming feeling by running in circles. It may also cry out, shriek at you, bite when you get near, or puff up its feathers.
Remove the trigger from the budgie’s surroundings. However, you may be able to condition the budgie to accept this trigger through patience and by practicing proper bonding techniques.
Seizure or Stroke
A lack of coordination may lead your budgie to walk in circles when it doesn’t intend to. It may be trying to walk or fly straight, ending up spinning or constantly leaning to the side.
Before you do anything else, ensure that your budgie doesn’t injure itself. Then, get your budgie veterinary care. Check around for any vapors, fumes, or insecticides your budgie might have inhaled as they might be causing a seizure or stroke. Your budgie may have a severe calcium deficiency, liver disease, or have ingested toxins.
While you wait for your vet’s appointment, move your budgie to a box or a carrier lined with soft towels. Provide food and water in low bowls that your budgie can easily reach. Provide medium heat for your budgie to relax, keep the unit covered, and ensure that the surroundings are kept quiet and relaxing.