Jodi's Exotic Birds

Wing Clipping
By Jodi Montaño

Many parrot owners struggle with the idea of wing clipping. Either they just don’t get around to having regular grooming done, due to the inconvenience or, or they feel their birds will be happier being able to fly. I’m sure the birds do enjoy flight, after all, it’s so much of what they are. But there are SERIOUS dangers with allowing a pet bird to be fully flighted.

Our homes are a very dangerous place for a flighted bird. They can become startled and fly into a window or wall, which can result in serious injury or even death. They can fly out a door or window, which has accidentally been left open. This unfortunate situation happened to one of my clients and the baby African Gray they had gotten from me. Someone opened the front door and she flew off their shoulder. They never recovered her, and are heart broken. Flighted birds can also fly into a ceiling fan, or an open toilet, or a pot of hot, cooking food on the stove. They can also go places in the home that they shouldn’t have access to, and chew on items that may be toxic to them, or at the very least, they can cause damage to your home.

Another problem with allowing free flight to a pet bird is your relationship with that bird. If it is able to fly away any time it likes, it doesn’t need to rely on you to go places, and doesn’t have to stay on a play tree, or on your shoulder, etc. Free flighted birds often become aloof and loose some of their pet qualities. They gain a sense of independence, and you lose the leadership role in the relationship with them.

The bottom line is, by keeping your birds wings (and nails) trimmed, you reduce the possibility of injury or death, and keep the relationship in balance.