It was Nannie that started the whole drinking thing off. She liked a drop of brandy most nights, did Nannie (purely for medicinal purposes, naturally*). Of course, being a bird of a curious nature, Dickie flew over and perched on the arm of her chair to see what goodies might be on offer. Nannie decided that it really could do no harm to gibe the feathered fella a wee nip of the hard stuff. She tilted the glass towards him. He tilted his head quizzically at it (as budgies are wont to do). She murmured some encouragement. He needed very little. In went the head, down came the beak and swiftly flowed the brandy.
The transformation was startling in its Jekyll-and-Hyde-like intensity. The bird was transmogrified into a fluttering dervish, chirping and tweeting his way around the room before landing on the back of Nannie's chair and arguing loudly with the wall for quite some time. It was on a par with the stereotype drunk in a film tripping over a chair and then leaping up with fists held out in a Queensbury-rules-style boxing pose, ready for a fight.
From then onwards, Uncle Dickie was a slave to the demon drink. He would know what time of day it was and pester and clamour at Nannie until his little nip of boozy goodness was provided. OK, it probably wasn't the healthiest way to look after a budgie but he lived to a ripe old age, too, so maybe there's something to this brandy after all. Mind you, we didn't perform an autopsy on him (mainly because only serial killers perform autopsies on their pets) so it;s entirely possible that, at the end, he went of cirrhosis of his tiny budgie liver. Who can say?
After the avian Uncle Dick passed away, Grandad decided not to get another one. I think for him that was the last time he wanted to go through the loss of a pet. Although I am , as previously stated, not one for birds as pets, I have to admit that when i pop round to visit Grandad, the sitting room does tend to seem that little bit too big without the open bird cage in the corner and that frenzied blue presence flapping its way through the air in attempt to steal your crisps.
* Which may well have worked as she lived to the ripe old age of 95.