Hi, my name’s Lizy and I’m new here on the forum. I’m from Belgium so excuse my English
I’ve been reading tons of posts here for a couple of months including Michael’s book, so I hope you guys will be able to give me some advice on the following situation:
A month ago we bought our very first celestial parrotlet named Apollo from a breeder. He was 8 weeks at the time, not clipped and for now he’s settling in quite nicely. He’s still a bit wary of our hands (won’t perch on them), but takes food and treats from us without hesitation. He’s not scared of new toys or new types of food so that’s also a step in the right direction.
Yesterday me and my boyfriend thought it was about time to open the cage so he could experience his first indoor freeflight. He’s not bonded to anyone of us yet, but I figured it wouldn’t be such a big deal. I know that bonding takes a lot of time and patience but being able to fly is a very important factor for birds so the sooner the better in my opinion. The room he’s in has a very high ceiling and is lined with big windows so I was a bit scared that he would crash into them. We lowered the blinds a bit to minimize the chance of crashes. We also took everything out of the room we thought would pose a threat. Since he’s still a baby I knew that his flight capabilities wouldn’t be ideal but I figured it’s a bit like teaching a child to ride a bycicle. Practice makes perfect. I targeted him outside the cage on a perch we installed for him. Everything went quite well, until he took of. He circled the room for a while trying to look for something to perch on. He then crashed into a set of smaller windows close to the ceiling where we don’t have blinds installed. He was a bit dazed but shortly after that started to chirp again and stayed on the ledge for about ten minutes. It was clear to us that he needed time to catch his bearings so we didn’t want to scare him any further. We talked and whistled softly to reassure him. Since he was so high up I thought he wasn’t able to come down on his own. We waited for a while, he took of again, crashed into another window and landed on the floor. The poor thing was so scared… We were a bit puzzled what to do next so my boyfriend thought it would be a good idea to bring his cage a bit closer to him since that’s the only thing in the room that he trusts. It turned out to be the right decision. He recognised his cage, flew on top of it, climbed in and went straight for his favourite toy. We then calmly closed the door and placed his cage back in it’s original place.
I was worried that the whole experience was a bit too much for him (those window crashes… brrr) and kept a close watch for the following hours. He slept for a good while but then started eating and playing with his toys again. This morning he was still his usual happy self with no sign of obvious injuries. I can breathe easily now
I’m now wondering if we took the right decision to let him out of the cage on such a short notice? Is it better to hold off freeflight until he fully trusts us and start practicing the Step up command instead? Or should we just continue with freeflight so he could practice his flying skills (and landing skills!) and won’t crash into windows as much? This whole first experience was quite stressful for Apollo and for us as well… And I’m scared that the next time he will end up with an injury…
Any advice will be greatly appreciated!