Trained Parrot BlogParrot Wizard Online Parrot Toy StoreThe Parrot Forum

First indoor freeflight

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

First indoor freeflight

Postby Coldrane » Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:43 am

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 :) phew!

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! :hatched:
Coldrane
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2
Location: Belgium
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Celestial parrotlet
Flight: Yes

Re: First indoor freeflight

Postby Wolf » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:04 am

Most young bird are built to withstand a few crashes without sustaining injury, but then they didn't have windows to deal with. A parrotlet may be small but they can be pretty fast fliers and any full speed impact head on is going to hurt and it sounds like yours might have sustained a mild concussion. I don't like it but I think that a break for a couple of days would be in his best interests and it would give you time to do something about the windows. Once he is accustomed to the room and where the windows are he won't crash into them again, and they are fast learners.
I have found that a dark fiber screening or a set of sheer curtains to be my birds best friend when it comes to a new room and windows as they still allow light into the room and the bird can crash into them without getting hurt. You would still want to keep watch in case he got caught in either fabric so that you could free him, but it is much better than an injury. After he gets accustomed to flying in the room the coverings can be removed, if you want. Another thing that would help is full spectrum lighting, but you have to be careful to only use the right ones as the ones for reptiles will burn him or blind him. Some companies just repackage there reptile lights as avian lights so you can't go by the labeling you must look for the fine print to find the specifications. You look for a bulb with a CRI of 94+ with a K Temp of 5000 to 5500 and a UV output of 2.
The bulb will help him to see better because they see into the ultra violet light ranges which are invisible to us.
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: First indoor freeflight

Postby liz » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:27 am

Coldrane, you are doing so good. Because he can fly he is more confident that he is safe from preditors. He also know she can fly from you if he gets scared so he will calm down faster than most.
You are right that toddlers fall down a lot before they can stand up and walk. Sheer curtains are a very good idea. My cockatiels got tangled in a curtain so I put up the window contact paper that light comes in but you can't see in. I of course put it backwards. I leave the window open so they can see out so if they hit the window it is just the screen and they bounce off.
Myrtle is a smart bird and learns fast but because I did not have time to work with her I put the gummy decals on the sliding glass door to remind her it was there.
I am so happy for you to get a flighted baby. Just like a baby it is a wonderful thing to watch the world through the eyes of a bird who is learning about everything.
User avatar
liz
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 6467
Location: Hernando FL
Number of Birds Owned: 13
Types of Birds Owned: DYH Amazon Rainbow
BF Amazon Myrtle
Cockatiels: Shadow Tammy Tommy Maggie Lacy Flutter Phoenix Jackie Andy Gimpy Louise
Flight: Yes

Re: First indoor freeflight

Postby Coldrane » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:11 am

Thanks for the advice, Wolf & Liz! :hatched: I will hold off freeflight for a couple of days and look for some window coverings and maybe some decals, just to be on the safe side :)
I'll look into the full spectrum lighting as well, not sure if I can find a store nearby... We'll see.

It's good to hear that it'll turn out ok in the long run! I had some doubts yesterday; it's never easy to see any animal getting hurt... So thanks for the reassurance! :P
Coldrane
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2
Location: Belgium
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Celestial parrotlet
Flight: Yes

Re: First indoor freeflight

Postby Wolf » Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:09 am

Even if we are sometimes a bit blunt in our replies we will always do our best to offer good advice to benefit your bird.
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: First indoor freeflight

Postby Pajarita » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:05 am

I think something that added to the problem was the fact that there were no perches high up so, in the future, put one in front of the windows so he can alight there. But don't worry about him taking a few falls, it's normal, human babies also fall down when they first start to walk.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 11623
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: First indoor freeflight

Postby jane19 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:37 am

A baby bird will take about a month of flying and crashing before it's no longer clumsy. Birds are also very light so a high fall won't hurt them much.

Before you let your bird fly next time, go around the room and show him what windows and mirrors are -- take it close to the window, tap the window with your finger, and let him tap it with its beak. I've tried this on many birds even baby sparrows get it. There is no need for covers after that. They can still fly into windows due to panic once or twice when they can't fully control their flight but they also learn very fast not to do it.
jane19
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 20
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: cockatiel, sun conure
Flight: Yes

Re: First indoor freeflight

Postby Wolf » Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:06 am

Although what you say is normally true, I would rather not take the chance with someone else's bird especially when the window is high enough to present problems in getting to. Most young birds can withstand a collision with windows and the subsequent fall without undue injury but this is not 100%. Some of them will sustain head and neck trauma on the very first impact as their speed at the time of impact as well as the angle of impact must all be considered. A light screen or curtain will prevent this type of injury all of the time. So you tell me which way is safer for the bird.
I try to consider the bird first in all things as that is why I am here. I am trying to make life better for the bird, I must work with humans in order to do this, but the humans are not my major concern, the bird is. If we were talking safety for your child what would you choose or recommend, something that has a 60% safety rating or something with an 87% safety rating? It is all the same thing relatively speaking.
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: First indoor freeflight

Postby jane19 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:28 am

I think flying in dim light is more dangerous for a bird who is just learning. When you take away the cover next time, there is still chance the bird will hit the window. If they must hit the window once or twice to learn, it's better done when they are young. And yes a bird can hit a window and die from head injury. This must be done at a very high speed. In an average home birds rarely build up that speed. You can always have the cover on windows and mirrors when birds are out to make 87% sure they are safe. Or stick them in a cage 24/7, that's 100% safe.

My birds are both adults now. They are expected to be able to take care of themselves at home. My approach while they were young had made them meet the expectation. If you have a different expectation then you do it another way to make it meet yours. Everything I type out here is how I do things to make my life with birds easy, not how everyone else should do things. Everyone feel free to disagree with me and find your own ways that work best.
jane19
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 20
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: cockatiel, sun conure
Flight: Yes

Re: First indoor freeflight

Postby Wolf » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:05 pm

I am not suggesting that the lighting be dim, but instead using ordinary window screen the fiber screens as opposed to the metal screening, or sheer curtains which would still allow light in but provide for a softer impact until the bird learns where the window is.
Have you seen a parrotlet fly ? I have one and they can be like little missiles in flight. They are very fast and due to their small size they don't require much space to hit top speed.
I am sorry that you don't agree with me on this, but that is the nature of a forum and it is a good thing as it allows for the OP to have more options to choose from when requesting help. Just so that you know, normally, I would agree with you and say not to worry about it, but based on what the OP described this bird did hit the glass hard enough to probably have received a concussion. I am not a vet or some expert but I have seen concussions in many different species of animals and this sounded a lot like one to me. If that is the case, then I think that the priority would be to prevent another one. This is just my opinion.
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

Next

Return to Indoor Freeflight

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron
Parrot ForumArticles IndexTraining Step UpParrot Training BlogPoicephalus Parrot InformationParrot Wizard Store