Teaching your budgie to fly to you, or recall training, is one of the easiest and most fun tricks to teach to your feathered friend. Aside from that, having a bird that knows how to recall can also come in handy when they need to go back to their cage. Another important benefit of teaching your budgie to recall on command is safety. If your budgie accidentally escapes the house the chances of retrieving them are a lot bigger if they are trained to recall to you.
What you and your budgie need to know before teaching this trick
– You need to know the fundamentals of a successful training session.
– Your budgie needs to be tame.
– Your budgie needs to know how to step up on your finger.
– Your budgie needs to have all of their flight feathers.
A clipped budgie is not able to learn this trick because it requires flight skills. If your budgie is clipped it does not mean your budgie can never learn to recall. You will have to wait until their next moult so their flight feathers will grow back.
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Hop on, little budgie!
Of course, you want to start your session with a quick warming up. The best warming up for this trick is doing a few repetitions of ‘step up’ with your budgie. This way your budgie is already focussed on going onto your finger.
After your warming up it’s time for the first step: teaching your budgie to hop onto your finger. All you need to do for this step is to create a small gap between the surface your budgie is standing on and your finger. The top of their cage or a T-stand is a great surface to use for this trick. Some budgies are brave by nature and will hop on without even thinking about it. Others might need a little more encouragement from you. When your bird conquers their fear and hops on for the first time, reward them greatly with their favourite treat. Once your budgie can hop on consistently without doubt you can move on to the next step.
Hop, jump and flap
When your budgie can consistently hop onto your finger over a small gap, it’s time to increase the distance. This challenges your bird to make a bigger jump to get to your finger. Keep rewarding them for every successful attempt to keep them motivated en engaged! Once your budgie is comfortable with taking bigger jumps you can increase the gap a little more. Keep doing this until your budgie has to flap their wings once or twice to land properly.
Once this goes well, you can keep increasing the distance so your bird has to fly to you.
Putting it on cue
By now your budgie should have mastered the recalling itself. All there is left to do now is putting it on cue. This is either the easiest or the hardest step, depending on how food-motivated your bird is. For example, my budgie Sky is VERY food-motivated and will do all sorts of tricks without me asking for it. When I don’t reward her for doing said trick she gets grumpy. My other budgie Charlie, however, is more motivated by interaction so he is a lot more patient and pays more attention to my cues.
All you have to do for this step is to ask your budgie to recall by giving a hand signal and a verbal cue at the same time. You can choose your own signal and cue for this. For example, my hand signal is to hold my index- and middle finger up and bending them towards me twice. My verbal cue is ‘Sky/Charlie, come!’. When your budgie recalls when you give both the hand signal and the verbal cue you reward them with a treat. If they do it without the cue, they should not get a reward. This way they will learn that they can only earn a reward when you ask for the trick.
Maintaining recall skills
Recalling is the kind of skill that needs to be maintained very well. You can do this by using recall every time you want your budgie to go back in their cage. You can also do short training sessions regularly to maintain the skill. There are so many fun ways to keep recalling challenging and interesting for your bird. You can practice with a variety of distances, you can practice flying through open doors inside the house, and you can even do a recall between two trainers! This is a great way to include a friend or other people in your household in your training sessions and teach them about training as well!
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the process of teaching your budgie to recall on cue. Remember to adjust to your birds’ pace and you will definitely be successful!