The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar Hoax, 1874
Man flies by own lung power, 1934
BMW's April Fool's Day Hoaxes
Adolf Hitler Baby Photo Hoax, 1933
The Olympic Underwear Relay, 1956
Did Poe say 'The best things in life make you sweaty'?
Did Paul McCartney die on Nov. 9, 1966?
Princess Caraboo, servant girl who became a princess, 1817
The Nobody For President Campaign, 1940 to Present
Tourist Guy 9/11 Hoax, Sep 2001
Budgie Enjoys Cross-Stitching
Status: Undetermined
image Birds can be very clever, but so clever that they'll take up stitching as a hobby? I'm not so sure about that, though that's what Sandra Battye claims of her three-year-old budgie, Spike. She says:

"She would sit on my shoulder and watch me for hours. One day I just sat and didn’t stitch. It seemed to frustrate her. Then suddenly she picked up the needle in her beak and began cross-stitching herself. I was staggered. Now I can’t stop her. She still gets a bit confused at how the patterns work but she is very good at pulling and pushing the needle through the fabric."

Cross-Stitcher magazine gave Spike its Young Cross-Stitcher of the Year Award for 2005. I'm willing to believe that the budgie might enjoy picking up the needle and tugging on it... but actually maneuvering the needle through the fabric is a bit harder to believe. Though sometimes animals do amazing things. I'd like to see a video of Spike in action before I list this as real. I'm curious how much help the owner gives the budgie. (Thanks to Melanie Brock for the link)
Categories: Animals
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 27, 2006
Comments (23)
So different from some of the many woven bird nests I've seen? Surely that must require "threading" twigs between each other?
Posted by schmawy  on  Fri Jan 27, 2006  at  01:45 PM
The source is The Sun....not exactly the most trustworthy news organization.
Posted by Craig  on  Fri Jan 27, 2006  at  01:49 PM
Crazy old ladies.....same ones that think their animals are human...
Posted by X  in  McKinney, TX  on  Fri Jan 27, 2006  at  02:12 PM
I thought I had one of the smartest parakeets ever. She used to pull a wet toothbrush around on the floor, and then actually drag it underneath a doorway netting meant to keep her on one side. Too bad this activity was completely useless compared to something like cross-stitching.
Posted by eriC draveS  in  Over here somewhere  on  Fri Jan 27, 2006  at  02:18 PM
I've had a lot of pet birds, and I'm a bit borderling on believing this. I've seen my birds do a lot of things you'd never think they'd be able to do, including opening their own cages to let themselves out. We started using twistie ties to keep the door shut, but it figured out how to undo those too.

Eventually we just decided that it's going to come and go as it pleases and left the door open, and low to the ground (it's wings were clipped) so it could climb back in when it decided to go home. Aside from random mutes (poo) laying around, it worked out well - the bird was happy to be free and I occasionally got a friendly wakeup call from my budgie.

Anyway, reminiscing aside, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this were for real. Holding a needle in its beak, pushing it into the cloth, then pulling it out the other side is not something that is beyond a budgie's physical capacity. And based on the interactions I've had with pet birds it seems plausible that a budgie could pick up the basic idea of cross stitching.
Posted by Oberon  in  Utah  on  Fri Jan 27, 2006  at  03:05 PM
No, the bird couldnt have done it. He didnt offer Alex any money.
Posted by Greg  on  Fri Jan 27, 2006  at  04:08 PM
If the bird actually cross-stitches, I'll eat my hat. If the bird cross-stitches anything that looks remotely like a shape or design, I'll eat my umbrella, too.
Posted by Citizen Premier  in  spite of public outcry  on  Fri Jan 27, 2006  at  06:14 PM
The bird Holds a needle in its beak, pushes it into the cloth, then pulls it out the other side?

How does it pull it back?

Anyone who thinks it can produce a coherent design should shoot themselves.
Posted by Peter  on  Sat Jan 28, 2006  at  07:55 AM
Certain species of birds (not sure about budgies) are very good at weaving--look at their nests. Plus, certain pet birds are talented at imitation (such as learning to eat with a spoon after watching their "humans" do it). I can believe a bird could weave a needle through cloth, although I'm not sure how it would pull the thread tight or keep it from getting tangled. Of course, there's no way this bird could even be thinking about following a pattern.
Posted by Iria  on  Sat Jan 28, 2006  at  11:06 AM
Whoops, meant to put those quotes around "their." I'm not implying bird owners are aliens. lol
Posted by Iria  on  Sat Jan 28, 2006  at  11:07 AM
True Greg, I'm still abit perturbed at that sell-out.
Posted by Craig  on  Sat Jan 28, 2006  at  11:28 AM
I agree with peter, but maybe one of the humans holds the cross stich vertically or something.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Sat Jan 28, 2006  at  01:36 PM
my god you guy's are just freaking whacked (craig & greg)....sorry, I guess maybe I shouldn't use this forum for personal attacks but I can't help it, feel free to delete this comment but I had to voice my opinion.
Posted by Chuck  in  Rhode Island  on  Sat Jan 28, 2006  at  05:40 PM
Can a bird pull on a piece of thread? Of course.

Would a bird deliberately cross-stitch thread into a human-recognizable pattern?

Not on this planet, cupcake.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Dallas, Texas, USA  on  Sat Jan 28, 2006  at  06:44 PM
I don't see how a bird could really do the cross-stiching all by itself all that easily with the fabric sitting like it is in the picture, since it would have to keep switching sides to push the needle back and forth through the fabric. But I suppose it could do it if the fabric was held vertically like Razela said. It would certainly be able to stick a needle into the fabric or pull one through (although I'd like to see it try to thread the needle!).

I don't really know much about budgies; does anyone suppose you could train one to follow a line that was drawn on the fabric?
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sat Jan 28, 2006  at  06:48 PM
Interesting. "Sandra Battye" is the name of the seamstress who does actual needlework in Terry Pratchett's book "Night Watch". It's possible, of course, that the parakeet woman is in fact the Sandra Battye for whom someone purchased the right to have her name appear in a Discworld book.
Posted by Ledasmom  on  Mon Jan 30, 2006  at  12:58 PM
Or it could be that she's a complete fake.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Mon Jan 30, 2006  at  01:02 PM
Good catch, Ledasmom. I googled "Cross-stitcher magazine Young Cross-stitcher of the Year" and got a bunch of news articles, but not an article from the magazine itself. I don't know how much they put online, though.
Posted by Iria  on  Mon Jan 30, 2006  at  05:01 PM
I'm sure I've seen a video of a budgie doing this - if only I could remember where!

I don't think it was stitching patterns though - just straight lines, and I don't think they were particularly tight as someone just appeared to have lumped a big pile of cloth on the floor for the budgie to have a go at.
Posted by The Welsh Avenger  in  UK  on  Tue Jan 31, 2006  at  04:38 AM
Budgies like to push and pull things, they like shiny things, they like string, they like to mimic, and they also like to play.

I'm not saying Spike can actually follow a pattern but if the owner prepped the needle? I can totally see her pushing and pulling a shiny needle attached to some string {perhaps even giving some good tugs to pull it tight) after she watched her owner playing with them.
Posted by T.McK  in  Canada  on  Wed Jul 05, 2006  at  11:55 PM
I agree with T.Mck .
Posted by person  on  Sun Dec 31, 2006  at  07:59 PM
YES WELL I MUST ADMIT I HAD MY DOUBTS WHEN I FIRST READ THIS STORY IN MY CROSS STITCHER MAG, BUT THEN AGAIN I THOUGHT WELL WHY NOT. I MEAN BUDGIES ARE REALLY INTELLIGENT BIRDIES... SO WHY NOT HAVE A BUDGIE THAT CAN CROSS STITCH? THOUGH MIND YOU TO HAVE IT FOLLOW A PATTERN IS A BIT DOUBTFUL ADMITIDELY...AND AS FOR THE STATMENT THAT 'I DON'T THINK A BUDGIE COULD FOLLOW A PATTERN'... WELL DOES THE LADY IN THE ARTICLE SAY THAT SPIKE CAN FOLLOW A PATTERN... NO I DON'T THINK SHE DOES, SHE DOES SAY HOWEVER IS THAT 'SHE FINDS IT HARD TO FOLLOW A PATTERN'

AND THE FACT THAT I'VE GOT 2 BUDGIES AS WELL ISN'T HERE OR THERE, BECAUSE I LOVE MY VERY NOISY
BIRDIES, EVEN IF THEY DO CAUSE HAVOC IN MY HOME. CHEWING ON THE CURTAINS AND CHEWING THE WOODWORK... OKAY gulp
Posted by Anna B  in  MACCLESFIELD ENGLAND  on  Thu Apr 24, 2008  at  07:26 AM
I just wanted to write and tell you that I think the book is WONDERFUL! I am loving it
Posted by sami  in  china  on  Mon Aug 04, 2008  at  02:18 AM
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