It was true. When I got up in the morning and uncovered his cage, the shouting began. Budgies have very loud voices when they're upset about something, and Pebbles was definitely using his. He was also bouncing around in his cage like a crazed thing, never settling for a second. Usually he has his quiet, dozy periods in the afternoon, but when I sat on the couch for my own quiet dozy period, I couldn't read my book for all the budgie yelling going on. There were no sweet chattering "birdie birdie birdies," "I love yous" or "kiss, kiss, kisses" to be heard all day.
Suzanna thought he was cold and feeling sick, so we upped the thermostat a notch, and that made us too warm. She thought he was hungry, so we refreshed his birdseed, but he wouldn't eat. He just bounced around the cage, yelling and shouting... so we let him out, and he attacked my umbrella plant, tried to find crumbs on the kitchen table, and just acted strange and skittish, uninterested in any interaction with his favourite human beings. He wouldn't even play his favourite chasing games (usually, us chasing him from place to place with a favourite toy). It seemed he was constantly asking for our attention, but at the same time, didn't want it. But he definitely wanted something. So we gave him his favourites -- celery leaves and bits of carrot. Not interested.
As we ate supper, he yelled and yelled and yelled, ran up and down his perches, turned somersaults between his legs, and just never stopped moving. Frantic.
And then it dawned on me. The night before, Julia had changed around the toys in the cage, replacing one usual shiny silver bell with a small jingle bell. I suggested she change it back.
Like magic, the yelling stopped. Pebbles is happy again. He just wanted his favourite bell back.
Here's a little video of him and his bell from this morning. He can see me making breakfast, so he's dancing around a little. At the end, he whispers a few "sweet nothings." If you ever come visit, he'll whisper some to you, too, as long as you let him keep his favourite bell.