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Will he ever be able to fly?

Discuss indoor freeflight and managing freeflighted birds around the house. How to live with a flighted parrot.

Will he ever be able to fly?

Postby Newby » Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:05 am

Hello,

When I first got my African Grey he was clipped only on one side. He would fly, or fall, and crash low to the floor hitting whatever was in front of him. I was told to have his wings evened up, so I took him to a vet and she clipped the opposite side to match. (I told her I wanted him to learn to fly) To help him learn to fly I started with Michael's method between the two perches. He loved putting his beak on the opposite perch and flapping his wings to help him get across. One day, recently, he decided he didn't like to do that anymore and now he turns his back on me and gives me a dirty look. If the perches are close together he will still do it, but I'm not sure that really helps him with starting to fly. He has recently started flying off of whatever he is on when he wants to get to where I am, but it is still a straight shot to the floor. He is landing better though, and does not hit things on his way down. I guess I'm worried that he might have been clipped to young and won't be able to learn. I got him less than a year ago and don't know his past. Wolf and Pajarita were helpful before with a step up issue I had, so anyone got any ideas? Maybe I need to wait it out and he will build strength in atrophied wings? I don't know what to expect, so if this is normal then I will shout hallelujah and keep having patience. :gray:

Thanks in advance for any thoughts, Newby
Newby
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 23
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: African Grey
Flight: Yes

Re: Will he ever be able to fly?

Postby Wolf » Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:03 am

Start shouting, but don't be surprised if your Grey joins in on the celebration and shouts with you.
You can help with the process by running down the hallway, if you have one, with the bird on your hand to get it flapping it wings. This is to help build strength for flying, it takes more strength for a slower and more controlled flight than it does for a straight line fast flight. Also you can make use of the fact that your bird wants to be with you by replacing one of the perches with your arm and teaching her to come to you when you call her. She is very intelligent and knows the difference between a trick for your pleasure and one that give her some benefit more than just a small treat, so she is more likely to work on coming when called than senselessly going from one perch to another one.
Wolf
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 8679
Location: Lansing, NC
Number of Birds Owned: 6
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal
African Grey (CAG)
Yellow Naped Amazon
2Celestial Parrotlet
Budgie
Flight: Yes

Re: Will he ever be able to fly?

Postby Newby » Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:19 pm

Thank you, I'm excited to start him getting him to hop onto my hand from a little bit of a distance. He doesn't step onto my arm, only my hand. He is smart, and I worry I can't keep up with his brains ;) I may be writing again, depending on the outcome. One more time you have come through for me Wolf!
Newby
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 23
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: African Grey
Flight: Yes

Re: Will he ever be able to fly?

Postby Harpmaker » Thu Sep 25, 2014 4:40 pm

Maybe the shot to the floor is too discouraging. It is likely that before your bird starts flying, he will have some glide capability. Wait on flight lessons until then, but don't wait on the wing exercises.

My bird had a few practice "flights" during the time when she could glide but not fly. She jumped off my shoulder (her idea) and grabbed my hair while I walked briskly through the house. It made her very happy, but her shrieks of joy when she finished nearly deafened me. Maybe some heavy duty string would work instead of hair. Grays are smart, but I am not sure how to show him how to grab the string to get a ride.
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Harpmaker
Amazon
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Location: Southern California
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Types of Birds Owned: Meyer's Parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Will he ever be able to fly?

Postby Newby » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:48 am

He does not glide at all yet. He does try, by flapping his wings, but he just drops to the floor. Before his landings made me sick as he hit the floor hard. Now he puts his feet out and actually lands on them. He is out of his cage most of the day, how do I keep him from flying off of his perch? I'm in the room with him when he tries to come to me, and there is no rhyme or reason for the time he chooses to do it, so I can't stop it before it happens. He does stand and crouch down and flap his wings like he's thinking about flying, but usually that is not when he takes off. I look forward to knowing what advice I can get ;)
Newby
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 23
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: African Grey
Flight: Yes

Re: Will he ever be able to fly?

Postby Wolf » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:57 pm

Sorry, I thought that you had waited for his feathers to grow out to where he was at least gliding. The fight exercises will help out a lot, but he is still going to crash and burn until his feathers grow out some. Even though he is trying to land on his feet, hitting the floor that hard can still injure him or break a leg. If you can't anticipate his attempts pad the for so that he doesn't get hurt. His choice of timing probably coincides with the times that you are getting into what you are doing and he sees that you are focusing on that. He get interested and tries to come to you. I don't know if he calls to you first or not but if he does then that is when to go and get him. When ever my Grey is out I check fairly often to see if she wants to come to me.
Wolf
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 8679
Location: Lansing, NC
Number of Birds Owned: 6
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal
African Grey (CAG)
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2Celestial Parrotlet
Budgie
Flight: Yes

Re: Will he ever be able to fly?

Postby Newby » Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:13 pm

Thanks Wolf, I'm keeping his perches, which are dowels on microphone stands, as low as possible so he is not too far off of the floor. I'm glad to learn that the gliding will come with the feather growth. He is molting like crazy right now, does that mean the new feathers will help him with the gliding? I'm just wondering how long of a process it is, because he is anxious and so am I.
Newby
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 23
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: African Grey
Flight: Yes

Re: Will he ever be able to fly?

Postby Wolf » Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:29 am

Generally speaking it will take 2 years to regrow all of his primaries back. This is assuming a good diet, of course, so that the feathers that grow back are of normal strength and shape. While he may not gain full flight after his first molt there will begin to be significant improvement in his ability to fly and glide to the ground safely.
Wolf
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 8679
Location: Lansing, NC
Number of Birds Owned: 6
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal
African Grey (CAG)
Yellow Naped Amazon
2Celestial Parrotlet
Budgie
Flight: Yes

Re: Will he ever be able to fly?

Postby Pajarita » Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:04 am

Right. He will regain half of his clipped primaries on this molt season and the other half on the next one but he could still fly with only half (his maneuvering and landing are more affected than the actual capacity to fly).
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Will he ever be able to fly?

Postby Newby » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:43 pm

Okay, I will continue to keep an eye on him and have him on padded flooring to prevent an injury. I am still working with him on flapping his wings to help him gain strength in them. When will this molt be over? I've looked at web pictures of the anatomy of the wing, but I'm still not understanding all of the feathers. It doesn't help that I can't open my birds wings yet. (I haven't got that far with the taming yet) I think if I could actually see them I would understand it better. Wolf and Pajarita, I'm the one who could not get Charlie to step up onto my right hand, only the left. I hope you remember, anyway, I got him to step onto my right hand last week, YIPEE!! I have been watching his protein intake and spending more time just "hanging out" with him, he seems to be a happy camper ;) I am so glad that this forum is here, what a huge blessing!
Newby
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 23
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: African Grey
Flight: Yes

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