On clear days I put my budgie’s cage on my back patio. I know how he likes to sun himself, and gossip with the neighbourhood birds. Sometimes I wonder what his frantic peeping sounds like to them. Does he garble his budgie words like a toddler? Is his accent strangely Tasmanian? I hear him learn new budgie words from them, new ways to welcome the morning sun, and new ways to shriek when he sees the calico cat out the window. I see how he freezes when he hears something different, just to chirp so loudly in response to this new neighbour my ears ring and my fingers itch for the towel I cover his cage with at night. I wonder if he misses his first home, his spot by the window looking out over one of Hobart’s bushy reserves. I wonder if he misses the wattle-birds that used to bathe in our clogged gutters after rain and chat to him in the afternoons.

I wonder if it’s just me. Maybe I’m the one who misses the wattle-birds.