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On Behalf of Free-Flyers

Discuss topics associated with teaching birds to fly. Training parrots recall flight, target flying, and other flying exercises.

Re: On Behalf of Free-Flyers

Postby Tommy36 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:19 pm

Ok, I stated and send you some links very important to our debate because you claimed that parrots will fly away in a search of a mate. But I disprove this, you have videos where they are free to fly and come back to feed their chicks.

Another video I sent to you; is about a man who flies his Agapornis for more than 20 years (liberty style, they are free to fly like homing pigeons, they always come back to breed and enjoy the life, like they were supposed to do in nature)

Look at his youtube profile with an eagre eye and learn from this wonderful man. His flocks of Patagonian parrots are free as well, and many other species. Even British queen free fly flock of budgies and many other people in England who have land and right condition for something like that.

Parrots are wild animals as well as hawks and falcons are. And Falconers do save many young birds who get amazing hunting training (with humans) and most of them are return to the wild, after a season or two. How many Parrots did you manage to return to the wild? There is no unselfish way in keeping the parrots or any other wild animal (except rescue)

I didn't criticize you about parrot diet and exercise and I can tell that your birds have an amazing life, diet, and free-flying time indoors. And that is great.

I was criticizing the situation with many home parrots, and the situation is bad, and your aggressive opposition towards free flight that we can see on this forum.
As falconers, we have to have a mentor to learn to hunt with talons (same should be applied to parrot owners, license to be able to own one) I was lucky enough that my grandfather was a falconer so I mastered the trade. Now because I live in an apartment all my focus is only on parrots. When you take a bird out of the wild for falconry purposes, you are most likely saving its life. Few wild animals get that kind of assistance being raised to adulthood. Falcon or Hawk will hunt with me for a season or two and then be released as a super-competent hunter.

When a wild bird is used in falconry, fledglings birds are preferred. Since many of these birds would otherwise die (estimates run from 30-70 percent) within their first year, the taking of juvenile hawks by falconers has no noticeable effect on raptor populations. Ethical safe traps used for hawks are unlike typical hunting traps in that they are specifically designed to avoid harming the hawk, and it will have much more chance to survive after training is finished and the bird is eventually returned to the wild. Parrot's natural needs are massively overlooked. Please inform yourself about homing budgies and many other parrots that are free flown in the flock for many years and loved by their breeders. Free flight is a continuum of that practice and who has the better condition can fly a flock of parrots. It's the most perfect way to house wild animals. Please watch the links I will send you, about liberty flying and google about homing budgies, British Queen. I will send you the link that my friend Marijan Oreskovic used to write; about the situation in captive-kept parrots in the US. I miss spelled his name last time.

Please watch. A wonderful man who liberty fly flock of parrots ;
https://youtu.be/HLojvmahgBM

Please watch and comment; Breeding par of cockatiels free flighted;
https://youtu.be/fr2r3qPI7lY

Problem with parrots in captivity;

https://www.papageienpark-bochum.de/kra ... ensterben/
Tommy36
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 4
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: This spring will train Sun conure, Patagonian conure, and budgie for free flight.
Flight: Yes

Re: On Behalf of Free-Flyers

Postby Pajarita » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:37 am

As I stated before, under the law and unfortunately for them, birds are property and owners can do whatever they want with them. Falconers are not and never will be bird lovers no matter how you slice it - it's the rehabbers that love them, not the ones that take babies from the parents to train them for their own purposes. That, by definition, is exploitation - the opposite of rescue.

You can post a million links to videos and a million links to postings of other people but nobody can verify if these things are actually true. I've been doing this a long time, Tommy -and I do mean a looong time and not only because of actual time passed but also in soul damage. People lie through their teeth, the internet is the biggest source of lies there has ever been in the history of humanity and I have had the misfortune to find this out by personal experience.... The Pa 'rescuer' who was, in reality, a bird flipper with an actual USDA license to breed. The other 'rescuer' (in upstate NY) who warehoused the rescued birds in breeders cages stacked four high from the floor up (imagine the stress of a parrot living in a cage on or close to the floor!). And the other 'rescuer' (in Ct) who only took adoptable birds and actually rented them out for commercials. Or the president of a bird rescue group (in Md) who allowed many animals to die from lack of water and food (supposedly, it was her husband who had done it). The president of a bird rescue (also upstate NY) who constantly begged for donations and was later found to have used the money to bail her criminal son from jail, pay his attorney, her own personal bills, etc and was keeping the birds in an empty church without heat in the middle of the winter because she had stopped paying the rent where the rescue was first located. The woman who 'loved' birds and poopooed on a solar schedule and a fresh food diet because she had kept multiple birds for many years and they were all doing GREAT without them but, when she suddenly dropped dead of an aneurysm and her husband called on a rescue to come and get the birds, they found a front room with good looking parrots (the ones that always appeared on her pictures and postings) and a back room they described as 'the little shop of horrors' with sick birds, filthy cages, etc. The owner of a highly recommended bird store in Manhattan that was actually not only hoarding but also starving the birds he had used to breed babies for his store (a member here spent an entire night removing half-dead birds from his house - many of these bird later died). And throughout all of this you have all the postings, pictures, personal recommendations, wonderful stories and videos that people thought represented the truth of these people's lives. A video means nothing. Anybody can film a 'good' video and state that they have been doing this for 20 years without any negative consequences. I no longer believe what people post, what they claim, what they film or anything that I cannot verify personally.

Can a flock of parrots like lovebirds be kept by providing nests and food in an open outdoor environment? Of course! But it would have to be in either their country of origin or one that has a very similar climate and flora. But that doesn't prove you can safely free-fly them in USA.

Do parrots suffer in captivity? Yes, they do - GREATLY! Should people keep parrots as pets? No, they should not. Not me, not you, not Michael, not anybody UNLESS they are scientists committed to captive-breeding for later released into the wild - and yes, there are success stories of reintroducing parrots into the wild. Breeding parrots for the pet trade should be illegal because it supports animal cruelty. Period. And, there are no 'responsible' or 'good' breeders - anybody who breeds should know, if they don't, that the babies they produce are all doomed to a bad life. But, of course, this is just a dream for the future because, realistically speaking, people either know this and are too selfish (they want what they want and if an animal has to suffer for it, then it will have to suffer) or too naive (they actually believe that they can give a parrot a good life in captivity) to support such a law and our lawmakers who could know better are all in somebody's pocket - PIJAC and the agricultural industries being very generous with their 'donations'. But I have hope that we will eventually evolve into a society that recognizes that animals have the right to live the kind of life they evolved to have and a humane death, if at all necessary, and that we do not have the God given right to exploit them for our own benefit. Needless to say, we are very far away from this goal but I still have hope...

You stated that "There is no unselfish way in keeping the parrots or any other wild animal (except rescue)" Agree in the sense that anybody who wants a parrot should adopt and not buy - but up to a point because not all rescuers are unselfish... and it might very well be that no rescuer is actually completely unselfish. For one thing, not everybody who calls itself a rescuer is actually doing it for the animals - believe it or not, a large number of them do it because they get their kicks from being called 'angels on Earth' (I HATE it when people say this about rescuers!) or some other such ego stroking nonsense. And still another large group does it because it satisfies their 'hoarding streak' (I've known many dog rescuers that keep a large number of dogs and cats in filthy homes and without medical attention under the guise of their love for animals). I know I am not unselfish and, if adopting/rehoming instead of buying is what a rescuer does then I guess you could still call me a rescuer even though I have not done it full time for years now (I used to be VP and in charge of the shelter of a dog and cat rescue group in Pa as well as ran my own bird rescue). But I am not unselfish and I seriously doubt that any rescuer is because, when you dig deep enough, we do it for ourselves. I am a person who is very honest with herself and I know I do. I learned many, many years ago that I cannot walk away or disassociate myself from a suffering animal. If I try, I suffer. I can't stop thinking about it, I can't sleep at night and I feel a constant deep remorse that eats and eats at me. I do not like to feel that way so I do not walk away. And that is how I ended up with way too many animals under my care. I do not go out looking for them but, if I see one on the street, I pick it up, and if somebody walks up to my door with one that needs help, I take it in (and people figure out pretty quick when you are the kind that can't say no). But I am the kind of person that learns from her mistakes and I have learned that I can only do so much. I learned this in Pa when I was sleeping 3 or 4 hours a night, working from 4:30 am to 11 pm every single day trying to keep up with the shelter where I either worked every day or supervised/trained volunteers, my dogs and cats plus the ones I was fostering (17 dogs and 26 cats in the house- and 240 birds). I was super underweight and my blood pressure was out of control and not only because of the work but also because rescue takes a huge toll on your emotional wellbeing - and I do mean a HUGE toll. It's day after day of heart and backbreaking, hopeless, unending work mixed with a deep sense of impotence that ends up eroding your heart and soul and your faith in humanity. But you do it because not doing it feels worse. So, no, it's not completely unselfish...

Look, I am sure that you think that you are doing the right thing but I do not see it that way. I am a mother and grandmother who happens to love animals and, to me, putting one at risk is anathema. And I am going to tell you something else. I might be wrong on this because I do not have personal experience but it seems to me that using the experience of falconers for parrot free-flight is the wrong thing to do. Birds of prey are completely different from prey birds. For one thing, birds of prey are territorial, they fly alone or in pairs. Parrots are highly social and fly in flock. Take where and how they fly. Birds of prey fly in open spaces way up high -they evolved to do this because their excellent vision allows them to spot prey from afar and to swoop down on it super fast. But parrots are prey birds that mostly either live in the upper or the lower canopy. They do not fly in open spaces - it is dangerous for them to do so. You criticized Michael's choice of a large park in the city for his birds free-flight and said that he should have done it in an open space (this is what falconers do) but that would be contrary to what nature evolved these birds to do. Senegals are woodland and savannah birds - they evolved to fly between trees, not above them, so a city park actually resembles very closely their natural habitat. And macaws are mostly rainforest canopy birds and they also do not fly in open spaces - not for long anyway because they do have flying predators -a danger here in USA, too. So, if I were you, I would consider the fact that falconers train for a type of flight that is completely unnatural to a parrot.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 18042
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: On Behalf of Free-Flyers

Postby Michael » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:14 pm

The topic of freeflight is not all that interesting to me and I have no intention of debating it. I'm just going to set the record straight about a few things that were mis-repreresented about me. Since I am already on the topic, I will lay out why it genuinely is a bad idea. However, it isn't and never has been my aim to cast it in a bad light. It's a choice that people are free to make. It just isn't a smart choice and it's a rather unfair choice because it involves gambling with someone else's life and not your own.

I never changed my mind about freeflight. I have always held the opinion that outdoor freeflight does not belong in the pet parrot experience. That is too risky no matter how well done it is. I have said it before, during, and after I was directly involved with outdoor freeflight. It did not take a fly-off to come to this conclusion. I held it long before and long since. I took my own risks and made a hypocritical personal decision to go against my own advice that I have always given and will continue giving parrot owners. It was a gamble. I played the odds. The odds followed the statistics pretty closely. Lots of success and a little failure. The only thing that changed for me is that I thought I could cope with losing a bird and discovered that I couldn't. The sickness that overcame me and the realization what could have happened to the bird could not be justified. I discovered that I could not let myself or a bird go through that experience again. My position did not change. I just stopped giving in to a blindsided addiction and pulled out in time so that it could not happen again (with the same or worse outcome).

I never once told someone that I would recommend they do freeflight or that I think it's a good idea. Just because I did it for some time does not mean I ever encouraged anyone to try it. I encourage people to allow parrots flight, feed better diet, take parrots securely outside, etc because these are things that enhance the bird's well-being with little to no risk. Freeflight is too risky so I do not recommend it and never did. It did not take a bird flying away to come to this conclusion because I always had it.

Freeflight is a gambling addiction like poker or casino. It is romantic and seems natural, but ultimately it is russian roulette with someone else's life. It is so addicting that it makes those involved with it get blinded to reality. It leads them on a path of rationalization and justification. It is cognitive dissonance. It is exactly the same as addicts rationalizing self-destructive habits. The difference with freeflight is that it is gambling on someone else's life (the bird that cannot survive in this environment). Freefliers have to play mental gymnastics to rationalize it. They try to rationalize that everyone else who had a problem was doing freeflight wrong but that they can do it right and it won't happen to them. That's how everyone thinks when they get pulled into it whether successful or not.

I have known countless freefliers from all over the US and the world. I am privileged to have had the opportunity to meet with them and hear their stories. Just about everyone either lost birds or quit in time. I would not say that most were doing things wrong or that it was a lack of education. It works until it doesn't. All of them were doing great and rationalizing it with the same romantic stories until it wasn't working. The smart ones quit freeflying while they were ahead. Others quit after it ended in tragedy. The ones who continue freeflying are the ones willing to lose or continue losing birds. They are ready to replace them for their own gratification of saying they let their bird fly free.

I totally understand the appeal of free flight. It truly is thrilling and beautiful. The problem is that it is the people that crave it most of all. This leads to anthropomorphizing the bird’s desires and using them to rationalize the risky hobby. If it were truly and solely for the benefit of the bird, less risky methods would be used by the person such as an outdoor aviary or a flight harness.

There are too many ways to lose a bird. We are only human. We make mistakes. It only takes one mistake for it to happen. Freeflight becomes addicting and clouds our reasoning. Because the concept of outdoor freeflight is born on a cloud of endless rationalization, it can lead to further rationalization and making unreasonable mistakes. However, even if the freeflier human is perfect (which he or she is not) and doesn't make mistakes, the bird can make mistakes. Birds are "only human" too. Even when they know what to do and have been perfectly taught by the perfect human, it is only a matter of time until they make a mistake. If the human is perfect and doesn't make mistakes and the bird is perfect and does not make mistakes, there is still everyone else to make them for you. Other people, animals, or even just the environment can cause the perfect bird to fly away or get lost unexpectedly. I know of a freeflying macaw that flew away in the midst of an unexpected earthquake in a place that doesn't get them. I know another parrot that was chased by crows. Another that was enticed by a random person. In freeflight it is all out of our hands no matter how thoughtful we try to be. Since in reality there isn't just one but all three of these factors present on every single freeflight, the odds of losing a bird are just too high. Not on the single freeflight. But, since it is an addiction driven by past successes, it is only a matter of time until one of those three will occur. Human makes a mistake, bird makes a mistake, or something completely unforeseeable happens and causes a situation.

I believe that these companion parrots are too amazing and precious for pet owners to take such high risks with their unknowing pets. These birds have instincts and are not able to comprehend the risks that they are being unknowingly signed up for. They have potential to live for so long, but unfortunately outdoor freeflight tends to cut their lifespan very short. Older freeflight parrots are nearly unheard of. Not because "you can't teach and old bird new tricks" but because they just don't last that long out there till something happens.

The activity is inherently risky but unfortunately most of the consequence of those risks is beared by the bird rather than the person. Unlike other risky past times such as motorcycling or base jumping, it is not the risk taker that gets harmed as the result of a mistake or just "bad luck." The bird that is already being kept outside its habitat has to pay the price with its life! For this reason, I do not believe that it is appropriate for people to be making these high risk choices on behalf of their pet where it is not the bird's native habitat.

I have always held this opinion and I reiterate that it did not take being involved in freeflight, knowing freefliers, hearing of their losses, or losing my bird to change my mind. Simply it took a bird flying away to fully appreciate what is at stake and to realize that I should stop trying to rationalize my own hypocrisy. I shared my story for the benefit of others. Most freefliers only share their successes through romantic videos and posts but rarely confess their failures and losses. They just disappear spontaneously and you never hear from them after it happens. But, I know what goes on behind the scenes.

I do not support any kind of prohibition. Every person needs to come to their own conclusions. However, for the purpose of educating companion pet owners, not only are the challenges of freeflight too great, there are far more pressing aspects of bird care that ought to be focused on instead. Which is why I choose to focus on them.

One thing I discovered while involved with freeflight is that you have to make a choice between your bird and freeflight. It is impossible for the bird to be your priority when engaged in freeflight. The engagement in the activity of freeflight always ends up being the priority over the bird. Talking about the gratification that freeflight brings to the bird is purely shortsighted. Drugs can bring short term gratification to the junkie as well, but will ultimately be their demise. There is no good reason to have to choose between the life of the parrot and the ability to fly or be outdoors. They just can't all happen at the same time. The bird can safely freefly indoors, safely fly outdoors in an aviary or with a harness, and safely go outdoors in an aviary or travel cage. This compromise ensures safety and well-being for the long run. Freeflight does not.

I do not condemn outdoor freeflight because of my experience. I just cannot recommend it for pet parrot owners because it carries an unreasonably high risk. The benefits are always overblown while the risks are rationalized. My own experience just makes me more aware of how lovely it can be and yet how terrible it can all turn out eventually. My experience also helps me understand the addicted mindset that outdoor freeflight inevitably brings and just like dealing with drugs or gambling addictions, it is best for people to avoid trying in the first place. At first it will draw them in, but eventually they will rationalize and justify greater risks until it goes too far.

You are welcome to discuss this topic on my forum to your heart's content, but I have nothing further to say on this matter. There are far bigger problems and concerns that pet parrot owners need help with. The reality of what outdoor freeflight is, is not what responsible loving pet parrot ownership needs. Good luck with your choices, responsibilities, and endeavors.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6274
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: On Behalf of Free-Flyers

Postby PhelanVelvel » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:47 pm

Pajarita wrote:They do not fly in open spaces - it is dangerous for them to do so. You criticized Michael's choice of a large park in the city for his birds free-flight and said that he should have done it in an open space (this is what falconers do) but that would be contrary to what nature evolved these birds to do. Senegals are woodland and savannah birds - they evolved to fly between trees, not above them, so a city park actually resembles very closely their natural habitat. And macaws are mostly rainforest canopy birds and they also do not fly in open spaces - not for long anyway because they do have flying predators -a danger here in USA, too.


Two things: yes, for many species, flying completely in the open is very unnatural and greatly increases the risk of them flying off. I always tailor flight locations to the species I'm working with. I am one of the people who actually pushes for this rather than trying to apply a "one size fits all" approach to location selection. But no, a city park is not in the least bit natural, because the second they fly out of range of the trees and in range of that labyrinth of streets and buildings, they have no hope--at least as a beginner--of navigating back. It is too overwhelming, too contrary to their instincts, and too difficult. Some birds can be triggered into a "location not safe--must fly to seek safety!" mode just by flying near a congested area. You can see how close the street is to the park. It's WAY too small to accommodate most birds' exploratory flights.

You also said something about birds being in more danger from raptors out in the open. While this is generally true, there are also some species of raptor that have evolved to exploit this and specifically hunt birds among the trees. I still fly my birds in the presence of trees due to all of the other benefits (psychological security, native bird alarm calls, shelter/visual obstruction from birds of prey), but it's worth noting here that the trees don't protect against every bird of prey.

Michael wrote:If it were truly and solely for the benefit of the bird, less risky methods would be used by the person such as an outdoor aviary or a flight harness.


Harnesses also have their share of dangers associated with them.

Michael wrote:Most freefliers only share their successes through romantic videos and posts but rarely confess their failures and losses. They just disappear spontaneously and you never hear from them after it happens. But, I know what goes on behind the scenes.


I agree with you here, but that's not me. I publicly share all of my mistakes and failures. Then people like Pajarita screech about us online and use our honesty against us. The only reason I share these things is to help other people fly their birds more safely. I don't have to. In fact, most free-flyers are afraid to share because of people like Pajarita condemning it altogether. But that doesn't stop me from sharing.

Michael wrote:One thing I discovered while involved with freeflight is that you have to make a choice between your bird and freeflight. It is impossible for the bird to be your priority when engaged in freeflight. The engagement in the activity of freeflight always ends up being the priority over the bird.


Once again, this is not me, and this is not the case for most of the free-flyers I know. I don't fly my birds any time I think it's going to be above an acceptable level of risk. I only fly my birds at certain locations; I only take them places which I have carefully scrutinised and which fall within a certain set of parameters. I only fly my birds under certain conditions. I don't fly for several months in a row, sometimes, because the overnight temperatures are too low. If the wind and weather aren't good enough, I don't fly. I have very particular requirements to free-fly them. I would never take them out when I thought it was unsafe just to participate in a meet-up or film a video. They come first. I prioritise them so highly that I constantly work towards flying them in a more natural flock setting. For me, it's about giving them freedom while keeping things as safe as possible. And I think it's important to have an aviary, anyway. I'm trying hard to get one. Need to get a permit, but the woman hasn't responded back to me yet.

Michael wrote:You are welcome to discuss this topic on my forum to your heart's content, but I have nothing further to say on this matter. There are far bigger problems and concerns that pet parrot owners need help with. The reality of what outdoor freeflight is, is not what responsible loving pet parrot ownership needs. Good luck with your choices, responsibilities, and endeavors.


I appreciate your response. Though I don't agree with your stance on free flight, I do agree with your stance on flight and do believe that 90% of pet parrot owners need to think about far more pressing concerns and not even contemplate free flight. Still, I firmly believe that when people see free flight, it does kindle in them a greater respect and admiration for pet parrots and helps them see parrots as more than lifeless perch/caged ornaments.
PhelanVelvel
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 5
Number of Birds Owned: 40
Types of Birds Owned: Budgies, cockatiels, green-cheeked conures, galahs, a lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo, ring-necked doves, and...well, there's no partridge in a pear tree yet.
Flight: Yes

Re: On Behalf of Free-Flyers

Postby Pajarita » Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:38 am

Phelan, I think that if it is true that you love your birds more than you love the feeling you get when you free-fly, you will change your tune when a beloved bird dies or goes MIA.

Michael, thank you for the clarification, I did not know what your feelings/opinion were before you lost Kili. And thank your for the first person account of free-flight and why people do it.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 18042
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

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