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 Augie - and Why we Should Let Our Birds Fully Learn How to Fly Before Clipping Their Wings

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VickiNumbers
Hyacinth Macaw
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Join date : 2011-05-21
Age : 50
Location : Denver, CO, United States
My Birds : Allie ~ Yellow Sided Green Cheek Conure
Mickey ~ Turquoise Green Cheek Conure
Sam ~ Blue Front Amazon
Caesar ~ Bronze Wing Pionus (actually my HUSBAND's bird *grin*)
Mack ~ Lutino Cockatiel
Forté and Duncan ~ Budgerigars
_____________________________
Posts : 1521

PostSubject: Augie - and Why we Should Let Our Birds Fully Learn How to Fly Before Clipping Their Wings   Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:17 pm

For any who haven't met him on FB, I'd like to introduce Augustus Johan Cockatiel V. My husband named him.



We just call him Augie for short. Smile

If you'll remember from my flock update sometime back, I'd said I was looking for one more cockatiel - a WF grey pearl male. Well, search as I might, I wasn't able to find one within driving distance. Apparently none of the mom cockatiels were laying the eggs I was looking for. So, I ended up getting a WF grey pied male instead - and I just love him to death. Smile

He's fully flighted and is learning to fly right now. I'm a proponent of keeping birds flighted. I think it's better for their health both mentally and physically. That said, I realize there are MANY reasons why it would not be practical for that to happen, safety of the bird being the biggest reason in my opinion. It takes a lot of work on the part of everyone in the household to maintain the safety of a flighted bird and if not everyone is committed then it shouldn't be done. However, regardless of whether the bird will be clipped or flighted, I believe that it is important for birds to learn to fly, and learn to fly WELL, as juveniles before they have their first wing clip. But first, let me tell you about Augie.

It's great watching him figure out how everything works. With birds learning to fly, there's a lot of going UP and not much coming down - at least not gracefully. The first time he flew, he flew 15 feet and smacked into a wall. Not a very noble beginning but fairly typical of the birds I've seen learning to fly. The first day or two when he'd take off flying, he'd take off flying and fly straight into a wall - then slide down (just like a cartoon character) and sit on the floor in an ignominious heap calling for help. Of course, we'd go pick him up and 10 minutes later he was at it again! He didn't know how to turn, hover, land, nothing but fly straight until he crashed! LOL!

After a few days of playing "bang your head," I noticed he was learning how to turn. I'd see him fly up and start flying in circles, cheeping loudly the entire time - almost as if in alarm. I finally figured out that he was a lot like a little kid on a bicycle - he was up and going but he didn't know what to do next and was calling out for help! Eventually, again, he had a crash landing. I've found his little cheeps are his emergency signal though. Just like a momma cockatiel in the wild, all I have to do is listen and I know right where to find him.

VERY shortly after he started turning, he started learning to land, and with landing came an increasing ability to go exactly where he wants to go. Now when he flies up, he can circle around until he finds a place to land that's high enough for him to use. He's used the curtain rod, picture frames, hanging plants, tops of heads (ouch!), and has even clung to the rafters in the ceiling of our house. He's happiest though, when he is lower than my shoulder and he can fly to me and land on my shoulder. It seems that's where he really likes to be (and I'm pretty much OK with it too!).

It's been a week since he started flying freely around the house and the one thing he still hasn't started to learn is how to fly *down*. If he's up high, he's stuck there until we go rescue him. It seems that nature has it planned that *down* is the last thing baby birds figure out how to do when they're learning to fly... maybe it's to keep them high, away from ground predators, until they're stronger flyers. I don't know the reasoning, but it's been consistent in the several birds I've raised and allowed to fully fledge.

The first reason I believe it's important for birds to know how to fly, for baby birds to be allowed to fully learn how to fly, is because DOWN is an important part of every day life for clipped birds. It's true that a clipped bird will go down, but birds who have learned to land naturally and birds who have learned to land because it has never truly flown, will do it differently. I haven't seen studies on this but watching my two conures tells me a lot. Allie was not allowed to fly before being clipped and Micky was. Watching the two of them move - well, there's a difference. If I had a good enough video camera, I'd video it. I'd love to capture the differences frame by frame. Early flight makes a difference in form and grace.

The second reason I believe it's important for birds to fully fledge is because, in the event a previously "non-flying" bird escapes, it will need to know how to fly down - to eat and to get to it's family who is calling for it. If a bird doesn't know how to fly down it's going to stay where it is. If a clipped bird with a few flight feathers escapes the house and winds up in a tree (because flying UP is easy!), it will be able to see you even if you can't see it. The bird may want desperately to get down to you but be terrified to do so.

Flying is a part of being a bird. In addition to having the above benefits, I've observed that babies who learn to fly appear to be more confident as adults whether they're clipped or not. The next time you get a bird, make sure your breeder allows your bird to fully fledge before clipping it's wings. You'll be glad you did.


_________________

"Many have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it. You remain responsible forever, for what you have tamed."
~Antoine de Saint Exupery

.....
....... ~*~ Vicki ~*~
.... Allie.... Sam.... Caesar
...... Mack...... Micky


http://BunchesOfBudgies.blogspot.com/
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crystalsbirdtoys
Senegal
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Join date : 2011-05-19
Location : Ottawa, Ontario
My Birds : African Grey - Merlin
Caique - Rosco
Cockatiel - Stryder
Posts : 381

PostSubject: Re: Augie - and Why we Should Let Our Birds Fully Learn How to Fly Before Clipping Their Wings   Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:30 am

Stryder & Merlin (Tiel and Grey) are fully flighted - Merlin can fly from the stairs to wherever husband is, and turn around to land on his head Smile It's pretty cool to see him have confidence in the house we've been in for a year - at first he wasn't sure where to go.

Stryder Flies throughout the bird room, or if he's hanging out with us downstairs - he seems pretty excited afterwards Smile

Rosco...when he's fully flighted he's unmanageable and bomb dives, so unfortunately he is clipped when the diving starts again Sad He does know how to fly, but it turns out not-so-nice for us (or our appendages) when he can.

I prefer to have them flighted vs non flighted, especially with the dogs in the house.
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dusty
Scarlet Macaw
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Join date : 2011-06-19
Age : 72
Location : near london, ontario canada...out in the country
My Birds : congo african grey (coco)
blue fronted amazons (willie and vasgo)
sun conure (simon)
greencheeked conure (jack)
senegal (walter)
senegal (crockett)
goffin cockatoo (sammy)
moluccan cockatoo (mango)
severe macaw (cody)
quaker (yoshi)
Posts : 838

PostSubject: Re: Augie - and Why we Should Let Our Birds Fully Learn How to Fly Before Clipping Their Wings   Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:10 am

all my birds are flighted but 4 won't fly...they are fun to watch and stay mostly in the bird room


dusty
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VickiNumbers
Hyacinth Macaw
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Join date : 2011-05-21
Age : 50
Location : Denver, CO, United States
My Birds : Allie ~ Yellow Sided Green Cheek Conure
Mickey ~ Turquoise Green Cheek Conure
Sam ~ Blue Front Amazon
Caesar ~ Bronze Wing Pionus (actually my HUSBAND's bird *grin*)
Mack ~ Lutino Cockatiel
Forté and Duncan ~ Budgerigars
_____________________________
Posts : 1521

PostSubject: Re: Augie - and Why we Should Let Our Birds Fully Learn How to Fly Before Clipping Their Wings   Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:28 pm

I'll say again - I think birds should be kept flighted if it's safe to do so. However, I don't think that it's safe all the time. In fact, I think that in the majority of cases it's probably safer for people to keep their bird clipped. I just think it makes a difference when the bird is allowed to fully learn to fly before his flying is restricted.

EDIT: I forgot to add - I just (today) noticed that Augie is starting to fly *down* on occasion. He's still not a super confident flier, but he's making strides. Smile

_________________

"Many have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it. You remain responsible forever, for what you have tamed."
~Antoine de Saint Exupery

.....
....... ~*~ Vicki ~*~
.... Allie.... Sam.... Caesar
...... Mack...... Micky


http://BunchesOfBudgies.blogspot.com/
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BratBirds
Parrotlet
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Join date : 2012-04-23
Age : 71
My Birds : Timneh African Grey-Peanut
Sun Conure-Skittles
Tiel-Mariah
Posts : 70

PostSubject: Re: Augie - and Why we Should Let Our Birds Fully Learn How to Fly Before Clipping Their Wings   Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:18 pm

Augie is tooo cute!! I, too, love to watch them learn how to fly. My TAG came to me at about 4 months old with a hachet job of a wing trim and it took him months to try and then it was so wonderful to see him fly around my house!! Of course with his breathing problems he doesn't do very much flying, but when he does it is beautiful! My Sun is also fully flighted and flys when he wants to, but again doesn't do it very much. After all, why bother if Mom is going the same place - we will just hitch a ride! LOL
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VickiNumbers
Hyacinth Macaw
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Join date : 2011-05-21
Age : 50
Location : Denver, CO, United States
My Birds : Allie ~ Yellow Sided Green Cheek Conure
Mickey ~ Turquoise Green Cheek Conure
Sam ~ Blue Front Amazon
Caesar ~ Bronze Wing Pionus (actually my HUSBAND's bird *grin*)
Mack ~ Lutino Cockatiel
Forté and Duncan ~ Budgerigars
_____________________________
Posts : 1521

PostSubject: Re: Augie - and Why we Should Let Our Birds Fully Learn How to Fly Before Clipping Their Wings   Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:50 pm

LOL! That's great!

(Seriously, I hate Facebook for doing this to me, but whenever I enjoy someone's post now, I'm looking for a button to "Like" it. It's reduced the transmission of a person's approval to the simple and impersonal click of a button. It's a lazy - person's smile. Sad really.)

_________________

"Many have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it. You remain responsible forever, for what you have tamed."
~Antoine de Saint Exupery

.....
....... ~*~ Vicki ~*~
.... Allie.... Sam.... Caesar
...... Mack...... Micky


http://BunchesOfBudgies.blogspot.com/
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Margaret
Hyacinth Macaw
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Join date : 2011-05-18
Age : 45
Location : Chicago
My Birds : • Budgies: Mango, Blueberry, Plum, Sunny
• Cockatiels: Chico, Mickey
• Linnies: Venus and Mars

• Amazon, who was with us: Lucky
Posts : 1418

PostSubject: Re: Augie - and Why we Should Let Our Birds Fully Learn How to Fly Before Clipping Their Wings   Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:56 am

Hey Augie! You're so cute! Very Happy
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