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Some Musings on Travel

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Some Musings on Travel

Postby Percival » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:38 am

Back in April I moved across Canada from Alberta to Ontario which meant I needed to transport Percy (black capped conure) with me. I had thought briefly about driving him but figured that several 12 hour car rides would not suit him too much and elected for air travel. In general everything went well - I purchased a flight approved carrier complete with built in perch and dishes. The Edmonton International Airport security screening went down without a hitch and everyone was VERY accommodating. The airline itself (I think I flew Air Canada) was excellent - the price to fly Percy was reasonable and they allowed me to board early to settle him underneath the seat. Overall this was a very good experience and the entire trip took maybe six hours.

Because this experience was so good I decided that rather than board him, I would bring Percy with me this holiday season as I flew back to Alberta for a two week vacation. This time I flew with New Leaf and boy was it a stressful time for Percy and I. My outbound flight was delayed by nearly three hours meaning poor Percy had to sit in his carrier for three hours BEFORE boarding the four hour flight to Edmonton. Then there was still an hour and a half drive home. All in all he spent nearly twelve hours in his carrier. Sure, he had water, food and a little toy to play with, but upon arrival at my parents house (he has a cage there and everything) he would not let go of me. He clung to the front of my shirt under my chin and refused to get off except to make the LARGEST poop I've ever seen. To me this indicates he probably didn't really do anything other than huddle in the corner for the duration of his time in the carrier.

A very similar (and worse) thing happened on my return flight. I arrived promptly at the airport at 6:30AM (Percy having been crated by 6AM), only to be told my flight had been delayed until 1PM!!! I had driven up from my parents house the night before with my boyfriend. Luckily I was able to go to his house and Percy could come out for a bit, but again he was very stressed and high-strung. When I finally arrived at the airport we were delayed by another hour. Basically, Percy spent almost the entire day in/on/around his carrier. Prior to this experience he's been pretty okay with being crated for travel, but now he is TERRIFIED of his carrier. If he even sees it he gets anxious.

I guess my main musing is that I chose to travel with him because I didn't want to board him for two weeks. I think boarding in general gets a bad reputation when really it depends on where you are boarding. I've had to board Percy once while I was away for work and the place he goes is great. Everyone on staff enjoys him and he gets to come out regularly in the day despite being flighted. I wonder now whether I should have boarded him for the two weeks rather than subject him to air travel. I guess it's all about choosing the lesser of two evils?

TLDR: Air travel with parrots is hit or miss and may be a worse choice (for my bird) than boarding for extended periods of time. I would appreciate your thoughts on this as cross-country travel is a regular part of my life (me and my partner are in a long-distance relationship due to our schooling).
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Percival
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 22
Location: Edmonton
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Black-capped conure
Flight: Yes

Re: Some Musings on Travel

Postby Pajarita » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:17 pm

I flew from San Jose, California to Newark, NJ with a bird. I also got the airline approved carrier and put some seeds and an orange (instead of water) in it but what I did was get a flight that made 2 stops of 1 or 2 hours and, during the wait to board and the stopovers, I went into the bathroom and let her out of her carrier so she could drink water, poop and hang out with me in private. I was lucky that none of my flights was unreasonably delayed so everything worked out just fine BUT it was a one time thing as I would not consider flying regularly with a bird (way too stressful).

As to boarding... well, I tell you, I would never do it. Not to any of my animals. I have heard horror stories about these places - my cousin's dog had to be euthanized a couple of years ago because of the boarding place's negligence in noting the dog was sick so he went from a respiratory infection to pneumonia! And she swore by this place because she had used it many times in the past and had all the bells and whistles. No place is good per se, it's the current employees that make the difference and, as those places don't pay their peons much, who you end up getting to take care of your animal is a gamble I am not willing to take. I would leave them with somebody instead. An important wedding anniversary is coming up for my husband and I and, as we haven't been able to take more than two days together anywhere in the last 15 years (precisely because of the animals), I have been looking and looking for a solution and finally found a neighbor who is willing to move into my house and take care of all of them (I am paying , of course!) while we are out. It's not the best solution because animals don't like to be cared for by strangers but all my animals know him (he has done work in the house several times, the last time replacing the floor in the birdroom so even those birds know him already) and they are staying in their familiar place and keeping their known routine. Is there any chance that you could get somebody the bird already knows to come to your place?
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 11631
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: Some Musings on Travel

Postby Percival » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:27 pm

Pajarita - Unfortunately as I have just moved here in April I don't have anyone who would be comfortable taking care of a parrot, nor do I know anyone who I would be comfortable leaving him with. The longest I have left Percy boarded is seven days (six nights) which to me felt like a long time. However the place that Percy goes is bird-specific and thus the owner (whom I'm now well acquainted with) is very knowledgeable, as are his staff members. It's so hard to know what the right choice is.
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Percival
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 22
Location: Edmonton
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Black-capped conure
Flight: Yes

Re: Some Musings on Travel

Postby Bird woman » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:38 pm

Don't forget this most very important thing about boarding a bird and that is what they may catch from another bird that is being kept in the same place. Even the vets office scares me and I bring sanitizer wipes and my own towel and already have birds weight so they don't stand on there scales. This is not being obsessive as one of my parrots got an infection from the office before and I found out the bird seen before mine had the infection soooooo careful. BW
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Amazon
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Types of Birds Owned: 2 mollucans, 2 LSC'S, 2 macaws, 1 bare-eye, 1 grey, 1 goffin and max the quaker
Flight: Yes

Re: Some Musings on Travel

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:13 pm

BW is right about that risk... Parrots can be asymptomatic carriers that shed the pathogen only when under stress and, as all parrots that are boarded are stressed out by it, I would be worried about that, too.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 11631
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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