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Budgie comes home after weeks in the wild

Budgie the parakeet survived in the wild for six weeks before he was reunited with Judy Durfee. Budgie the parakeet survived in the wild for six weeks before he was reunited with Judy Durfee.

First, the caper.

“I had the parakeet in a cage outside and we have two little dogs,” said Judy Durfee. (You can tell this won’t go well.) “I went in the shower and Jim went into the office and one of the dogs pawed the cage open.”
Judy thinks Eddie was the culprit. “Eddie likes to eat birdseed,” she said. “I don’t think he’d hurt the bird.” Budgie, the bright blue parakeet, had flown the cage. The bird “had kept me company while I had been bed ridden for two months,” she said. “He was a lot of fun. I had gotten quite attached.” (There are thousands of budgies, by the way. What we call parakeets others call budgies in other parts of the world.)
Judy and Jim were supposed to leave that day for a vacation of several in their RV in Bakersville.
Eddie 1The suspect: Eddie likes birdseed“We waited two days,” she said. “I had the bird cage out on porch with the light on all night. We just walked all over the neighborhood and told all the neighbors and desperately tried to find him for two days. We decided this is just a hopeless cause and there’s no way a parakeet can survive outside. He’s used to having his food handed to him and we’ve got cats and we’ve got hawks around here and so we just thought, that’s it. … I was very distressed about losing him.”
She had done everything possible to get the word out. She posted messages about Budgie on Craigslist.com and pawboost.com (a website that helps people find lost pets). The couple left Hendersonville on June 28, expecting never to see Budgie again. Then on Aug. 14, they got word that Budgie might have come home. Well, close to home.
About a mile or two away in Hawthorn Hills, Ruby McClung was sitting on her sofa reading about 7:30 at night when she heard a tapping at a window.
“I looked around and there’s this bright blue bird there,” she said. “I called my husband over there and we walked closer to the window and it was obviously a parakeet. We had already turned our alarm on so that went off and he still didn’t fly away. Will put his hand out and it jumped right on to his finger. We brought it in and it was so tame it was obvious it was someone’s pet.”
They made a make-shift cage and Ruby spread the word. She posted the news on nextdoor.com, a social media site that connects neighbors, and another site that helps people find lost pets. Thanks to the speed of social media, the trail soon led to the Durfees.
“I got a lady who responded and said she knew someone who had lost one,” McClung said.
The next morning, a neighbor of the Durfees brought over a cage and some bird seed. Later that day the couple arrived to pick Budgie up.
“They came and it was him and everybody was happy,” McClung said. “Can you believe he could survived that long? It’s pretty awesome. They were happy and I think kind of surprised that he made it.”
Judy Durfee had been heartbroken when as a young girl she lost a pet parakeet. “I walked out the door with him on my shoulder and away he flew,” she said. This time, Budgie gave her a second chance.
“I knew it was my bird when we went to see it because it has a little white spot on the top of his head,” she said. “Blue parakeets are kind of a dime a dozen but Budgie has a white spot and I knew for sure it was him.”