I wanted share an experience and wondered if anyone else here had a similar one, and also wondered if this could help other budgie owners. One of our budgies is very smart, but he used to have a bad habit of feeding the mirror. We gave him a mirror near the cage so that he wouldn't use our fancy one in the living room. Sometimes, my wife gets right behind him and talks to him so that he can also see her face in the mirror. Recently, she did this for a long time, and he was staring at the reflection of her face. Now he doesn't feed the mirror anymore and has become more social with one of the real budgies. We think that he figured out that he's seeing his reflection (unlike one of our other budgies who keeps looking around the edge of the mirror for the other bird).
Has anyone else been able to teach their budgie that the bird in the mirror is just a reflection? We think that this might be an effective way to train budgies not to feed mirrors.
Budgies are smart birds but I don't think that birds in general like many animals recognize
themselves in a mirror. In animal behavior studies this is called "self awareness" and most all birds don't pass this test. Chimps, elephants, and dolphins have been shown to have this ability but I don't think that birds possess it. I do think that when he sees your wife he probably registers "there's that bird with my human friend". You could look up on YouTube self awareness in animals for some interesting tests.
My experience is that young budgies will think that the budgie in the mirror is another bird — they'll try to beak-joust with it or tap beaks. However, once they're a year or two old, they prefer to sit back and admire themselves.
That's for large mirrors, though. Small mirrors seem to stimulate feeding impulses even in the birds who aren't impressed by large mirrors. Not sure what might be going on in their brains!
Mirrors are not recommended for budgies. Mirrors can cause a budgie to become obsessed with the reflection in the mirror, thinking that it's another bird. You've already seen some undesired affects of your budgie's mirror (trying to feed the refelctions), so I recommend taking it out of the cage.