A mirror will move around and tap your budgie on the beak as he pecks at it, and will give the impression of being an animated friendly companion (albeit a very quiet one). If you only keep a single bird, a mirror can be a useful social backup when there’s pressure on your budgie quality-time.
However – and it’s a big ‘however’ – it is always best to keep more than one bird, whether a mirror is involved or not. Nothing can entirely replace a flesh-and-blood companion bird. Once there are two or more budgies in the cage, the mirror is not usually an issue: it adds to the illusion of more birds, and that’s a good thing.
Love at first sight - budgies can grow very attached to their reflection
In a cage of two or more birds, the one in the mirror won’t receive much attention (unless you have a very timid budgie who finds this quiet mirror-friend to his liking). With just a single bird in a cage, the bird-in-the-mirror becomes the chief companion. Your pet budgie will talk to it, click beaks with it, attack it when he’s angry, and sometimes attempt to feed it with regurgitated seed. If his head feathers are raised when he taps the mirror with his beak, he is flirting.
Budgie Attacking Mirror
A budgie tends to go through several moods over the course of a day. Sometimes he will want to bicker and shove his companions around a bit. A lone bird has no other outlet for this than his toys, and mirrors tend to get most of the aggressive attention. This is normal – brief disagreements are part of the budgie’s everyday life. But if you feel he is spending an inordinate amount of time attacking his own reflection, you should take it as an enormous hint to get a second bird. His unusually high levels of aggression are probably fuelled by frustration and the need for more socialising.
If the male bird of a mating pair is constantly agitated by the handsome, silent rival in the mirror – i.e. if he’s spending more time fighting the reflection of himself than courting his partner – remove it. Three’s a crowd.
Budgie Feeding Mirror
A budgie who begins regurgitating seed to his reflection in the mirror is well advanced in the budgerigar mating ritual. He thinks the reflection is his mate, and he’s trying to feed her. If this happens once or twice but doesn’t recur, it’s nothing to worry about. Serial feeding, though, indicates that the bird is in need of some proper budgie company.
If your budgie gets into the habit of throwing up his seed for the benefit of the ‘friend’ in the mirror, it’s best to remove the mirror from the cage. This might seem mean, but there is a danger of throat irritation. The budgie will regurgitate the seed and, when the bird in the mirror fails to accept it, will swallow it again and repeat the process. The seed has digestive fluid in it, and if this is swallowed several times, it will irritate the budgie’s throat, tongue and crop.