Taxi driver and his trio of budgies love walks in Calgary park
Dave Keeler cares for his birds and makes sure they enjoy interesting, stimulating days
After Calgary's long winter finally ended, all Dave Keeler wanted to do was get outside with his pet birds.
The 66-year-old taxi driver is a budgie enthusiast, and takes his pets for jaunts around his Crescent Heights neighbourhood, even hanging the cage from trees in nearby Rotary Park.
"I don't need to go to the Caribbean or some place," he told the Calgary Eyeopener. "I just need to be with my birds."
Keeler first got budgies in the 1980s and now has three: a blue seven-year-old named Sammy, a big grey three-year-old named Melvin and a green and yellow bird named Happy, who is almost 11.
"And look, he looks just as young and happy and frisky," Keeler said.
Budgies (budgerigars) are a type of parakeet, a member of the parrot family. They are native to Australia.
Keeler tries to give his animals an active life. Sometimes he even puts their cage in the passenger seat of the car so they can watch on the drive.
"Actually they love a car ride. Just like children, when they're cooped up they just love to go out," he said.
Families with kids also out for a walk love seeing his birds, but Keeler is wary of dogs. That's why he hangs the birds up in a tree when they visit the park.
"They're very stimulated and fascinated by bird company," he said. "They're not too impressed by the magpies. They're a bit leery about them."
'They certainly make me happy'
Most trips into the world last a maximum of three hours. Any longer, or too much excitement, they can get cranky, stressed and eager for an afternoon nap.
Keeler says he was drawn to the birds because he has a bad allergy to cats and dogs, so he has to avoid them despite being an animal-lover.
Luckily, however, he only reacts in a good way to budgies.
"It's like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it," Keeler said. "And when I see my birds so happy and healthy, they certainly make me happy."
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With files from Elizabeth Withey and the Calgary Eyeopener.