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Free Flying your parrot outside

I have been flying my parrot Apollo out doors for over 2 years now. It works because Apollo is strongly bonded to me and the small group of friends who fly him with me. If it weren’t for this, he would probably fly away and never come back.

I feel that Free Flying your parrot outdoors is the ultimate experience  a bird keeper can have. It’s amazing to watch my little parrot use his incredible natural talents. That said, before you fly your parrot, you need to know the dangers.

Flying your bird outside is risky for the following reasons:

  1. Bird could easily fly away if he doesn’t like you or he could accidentally get lost while exploring.
  2. Bird could get attacked by a hawk (since captive birds are usually weak fliers, they are prime targets for hawks who seem to pick up on animals with strange flying patterns)
  3. Bird could get attacked by other birds (seagulls, crows and so on)
  4. Bird could get hit by a car
  5. Attacked by a dog or cat
  6. Get sick from eating or drinking something poisonous or contaminated by another wild bird
  7. The bird could attack a pedestrian and get you sued

Those are just seven potential problems but there are many more. In the wild, your parrot would have belonged to a flock of other birds who would warn him of danger and also  teach him how to deal with certain obstacles and predators. In captivity, they have been severed from this group and all they have is you and their basic instincts to keep them safe. To make matters worse, their instincts are only meant to tell them how to survive in their native habitat. They don’t do so well in American cities where most people usually try to fly them.

Flying indoors instead

You may consider indoor flight as a respectable alternative to free flight. This takes out the risk but still allows your bird to get his exercise and be happy. It’s not quite as fun of course and it can be difficult to find a good location but it is much better for most bird owners due to the high risk of outdoor flight. You do still have risks though, windows are dangerous because birds usually can’t see glass. Ceiling fans, hot stoves, open toilettes and other things can also be a danger.

Places to fly indoors (if you can get permission)

  • In your own home if you have a room that’s big enough (vaulted ceilings are a plus)
  • YMCA basketball gym
  • Church gym
  • Home made aviary in your own backyard
  • Abandoned warehouse

How to learn more about Free Flight

Before you take your bird outside, make sure he (or she) is properly trained. I’m not an expert. I’ve only trained one bird. To learn about training your bird for outdoor flight, visit the website of flight expert, Chris Biro by going here: www.wingsatliberty.com

Chris has trained dozens of birds for free flight and has worked with several different species. His website is full of articles, videos, and interviews that will really help you understand the basics and then some. In my opinion he gets over technical at times but it’s important to be precise when dealing with the safety of your bird.

Join the free flight yahoo group for discussion on free flight. You can ask questions and share your thoughts in the group.  The people of the group are serious about parrots and won’t hesitate to pick argue with you if they don’t like what you say.  You really should join the group if you’re going to fly outdoors but make sure you wear a thick skin when posting: Free Flight Yahoo Group

Good luck.

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5 Comments for Free Flying your parrot outside

richard maynard | May 4, 2010 at 8:57 am

i just got a 2 year old sun conure seeing your vids on youtube has really inspired me .the fellow that had my guy befor would take him out side no problem im going to take my time to bond with him if you can share any advice that would be appreciated richard in toronto canada .

Edie and Luna | June 15, 2010 at 11:25 am

Thank you for the wonderful video and your honesty in making both the pros and cons of freeflight clear. Luna is an umbrella cockatoo who came into our life about a year ago. She is awesome and I can’t imagine how we got by without her. Currently her wings are clipped but we are hitting that stage where we have to commit to reclipping her or training her for flight. Our home is an older house (1920) and the interior is fairly boxy which I have been warned is not good for the large cockatoos, especially those who have never flown before. My concern is that once we train her to fly outside she will injure herself trying to fly around the house. Like your Apollo she is very bonded to me so I’m not as concerned about outdoor flight (having read and considered the potential dangers) as I am about in door flight. Since Luna is a female and has laid 4 eggs in the last year, I’m concerned with keeping her in shape so we don’t have to worry (as much) about egg binding. And besides that how can she truly be healthy without the exercise her body was designed for? This isn’t an easy decision to make and I would appreciate any issight or comments you might have.

Edie, Mark and Luna

lorinse | June 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm

ok well im thinking of getting a conure(dont know which type)i have trained 3 budgies and one wild budgie i found and nursed it back yo health and i will train my conure and i may want to take him out for free flight

Catherine | October 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I just got a jenday conure, his name is Leon… I think he is 4 months old…. I got him July 7 /2010 in Portland at a bird hut..when I got him the people really did not say or know how old he was ={ any how.. I have been bonding with him and all he wants to do is sleep… he cant fly yet.. but when he does, should I buy a bird leash 4 him so I can train him to fly… I really dont know how to get him to stop sleeping or cudleing. n I really want him to play with me.. please help. Also he shares a cage with my boy cockatiel.. idk if thats why he wont bond with me as much.. Please give me advise. thank you.

MIke Y. | October 21, 2011 at 10:31 pm

My handfed lutino lovebird always wants to go outside. He knows the neighborhood so well, that he sometimes won’t come back until sunset! But it’s always risky… he was chased by a crow not too long ago. the good thing is, he doesn’t fly to people he doesn’t know :) so I’m not too worried about thief.

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