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How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

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

Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Michael » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:31 am

Well ceiling fans are going to have to be removed/disabled with flighted parrots in the house no question.
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Michael
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Komodeno » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:09 am

Hi Michael. As you can see I have 3 parrots.
My African Gray Casco (3 years) :gray: have bean clipped only one time and was done in the shop. After that his feathers re-grower and he is flying well. We start re-call with him and he is doing very well. We have done targeting and the training going over a back of two bar chairs. He only needed a bit of a confidence and was flying on request. We are now working on increasing the distance. I wish to train him to fly to my hand but any time I ask him to come to my hand he will not do it but he will easily come to the back of the chair. Any advice how to make him land on my hand?
I need also some advise about my B&G Macaw Jack :macaw: (3 years) . He is also flighted and have bean clipped only one time (from the pet shop, he was 6-8 months when I bought him). Jack can fly very well but he cant take of the chair and land on the other. He is very confused. He will go over the two chairs but if he can't grab the back with his back he will not cross. What to do with him how to make him fly over?
To finish with the post my best one is my new Goffin Cockatoo Goofy :cockatoo: (7 years). He is clipped (from his previous owner) and in top of this only one of his wing is clipped. He is actually flying very well and have no fear landing on my hand and when asked to go back to the perch. he have master this quiet well for a very short period. We need only to work on consistency which will come with more training. The only problem I'm facing now is to actually make him land on my hand not on my arm so I can control his feat. any suggestions how to brake his habit of landing on the front of my arm and target only my hand?
It looks like all of my bird prefer to step on my arm and do not like to much being on my hand-fingers. What to do with this?
I wish I was in US so I can have couple of your perches but unfortunately I'm not. What is the best thing to use as a training place? I have one t-perch with a tray underneath to collect poop and seeds. I have removed the feeding cups. Is it better to remove the tray and buy one more of this so they can use this as a training place?
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Mangoismybird » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:02 pm

Hi Michael! Thanks so much for the post and videos, they are becoming more and more helpful as my parrot's flight feathers are growing out.

First off, my parrot might be clipped again, even though I'm working on the give-it-a-shot argument with my mom who doesn't want her to fly out the door after all the investment of time and love I've put into her. While I can see her point, I also see yours, and the fact that the door is far away from where ever my parrot goes, and even if she was in the area, it's rarely opened and constructed so that there is a couple more doors to go through before she leaves. :roll: So I'm going to show her some of your posts and blog articles tonight and hopefully get her thinking.

Now, the real question. My bird has been clipped from a very early age, but she's taking the muscle build up and target training very well. :) She's constantly demonstrating her use of her just-growing-in feathers: hopping back and forth from my shoulder to a couch back, from perch to perch in her cage, and to start building up those muscles i let her chase me from side to side on my bed. :lol: She halfway runs and flaps around...lol.

My only worry is she's getting a little overzealous, i think. She has been recently falling in her cage (more like plummeting to the bottom.) and she leaps from high places like her perch to try to reach me at times. I don't want her to get hurt, no matter how good her aim is. :? Should I let her work it out, or do I need to interfere?

And are ceiling fans still dangerous when they're not in use? I have one in my room and I won't be able to take it out, though I have AC and I never use it. should I maybe blanket it when she's out if she's flighted? Thanks.
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Andromeda » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:51 pm

Komodeno wrote:My African Gray Casco ... I wish to train him to fly to my hand but any time I ask him to come to my hand he will not do it but he will easily come to the back of the chair. Any advice how to make him land on my hand?

My new Goffin Cockatoo Goofy ... The only problem I'm facing now is to actually make him land on my hand not on my arm so I can control his feat. any suggestions how to brake his habit of landing on the front of my arm and target only my hand?

It looks like all of my bird prefer to step on my arm and do not like to much being on my hand-fingers. What to do with this?


Well, I don't own a macaw, grey, or cockatoo but those are all larger birds so it's not unusual that they prefer to stand on your arm instead of your hand (especially the macaw). I wouldn't worry too much that they prefer to stand on your arm.

If you want them to recall to your arm (or hand), teach them to target first. Once they know that "target" means "come here and touch this stick" you can target them to any location, including your arm or hand. You'll probably have to start simple and close by targeting them to your arm (or hand) right next to the perch, and once they learn that, you can slowly increase the distance.

My GCC used to always land on my shoulder or head but I taught him to land on my hand instead using that exact method.

Komodeno wrote:I need also some advise about my B&G Macaw Jack ... Jack can fly very well but he cant take of the chair and land on the other. He is very confused. He will go over the two chairs but if he can't grab the back with his back he will not cross. What to do with him how to make him fly over?


I am having the same problem with my brown-headed parrot. He can fly, and occasionally does, but generally he chooses not to as he never fledged properly. I've been working on re-fledging him but I am having the same problem as Komodeno: if he can't reach the other perch with his beak, he won't cross. He will cross a large gap where he can only reach the perch with the very, very tip of his beak, but once I move it any further than that he won't budge.

I've tried putting one perch higher than the other and that didn't work, either.

If anyone has any ideas I am all ears.

Mangoismybird wrote:Now, the real question. My bird has been clipped from a very early age, but she's taking the muscle build up and target training very well. ... She has been recently falling in her cage (more like plummeting to the bottom) and she leaps from high places like her perch to try to reach me at times. I don't want her to get hurt, no matter how good her aim is. :? Should I let her work it out, or do I need to interfere?


It depends on how severe her clip is. Does she glide to the ground or fall like a rock? If she's falling like a rock she could get hurt, but if your floor is carpeted she'll probably be okay.

If she's gliding but just isn't very good at getting exactly where she's going, let her work it out. :-) She'll learn something with every attempt. Just make sure you cover windows and close off rooms that have mirrors until she's a better, more experienced flier.
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Michael » Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:15 pm

Andromeda wrote:I am having the same problem with my brown-headed parrot. He can fly, and occasionally does, but generally he chooses not to as he never fledged properly. I've been working on re-fledging him but I am having the same problem as Komodeno: if he can't reach the other perch with his beak, he won't cross. He will cross a large gap where he can only reach the perch with the very, very tip of his beak, but once I move it any further than that he won't budge.

I've tried putting one perch higher than the other and that didn't work, either.

If anyone has any ideas I am all ears.


You may just need something more motivating (could mean feeding less before). It's just about getting the inertia going of going back and forth that he is confident and not thinking about it and spreading the gap a little at a time. A possible sucker move is to have a hand/foot on the perch he's moving to and just jerking it a little further away as he crosses and has to flap to make it across. Super reward this and make a huge deal about how great it is he flew, big treats, etc to make up for scare so he doesn't want to not try again. Once you get him to figure out to flap as he moves across, it's all just practice from there but easy. You can see in my first time recall vids that they didn't know what to do at first either but once they figured it out, we made progress in giant leaps.

Mangoismybird wrote:First off, my parrot might be clipped again, even though I'm working on the give-it-a-shot argument with my mom who doesn't want her to fly out the door after all the investment of time and love I've put into her. While I can see her point, I also see yours, and the fact that the door is far away from where ever my parrot goes, and even if she was in the area, it's rarely opened and constructed so that there is a couple more doors to go through before she leaves. :roll: So I'm going to show her some of your posts and blog articles tonight and hopefully get her thinking.


Well you're not gonna be thrilled with my point. My point would be that it's unsuitable to own parrots until you're independent and can be fully responsible for their care. Having to choose between clipping and family approval isn't the parrot's fault and yet it ends up the one that gets screwed.

Let me make it clear that it is not "parrot safe" to have an indoor freeflighted parrot in a home unless every person living there accepts this and responsibly participates in this. If any one person in the home isn't on board with the deal, the parrot's life (as opposed to health) could be in substantial danger. But don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting clipping.

I would guess the best solution is to keep the parrot's cage and flight limited to your room. If you know that everyone is home after a certain time and the doors are locked (no one is coming and going at that hour anymore), then it's ok to have it out and about elsewhere. If there are open hallways that lead from rooms to the front door, it is still not safe to have the bird out when the door is opened. Obviously a locked door/ring the bell when bird is out policy is ideal but it's not like you can be making those kinds of demands/decisions in your own parents' house.

As for trying to fly and falling down, this is why it's best not to encourage flight until the parrot is ready/capable of it. The transition stage is when they get hurt the most and may get discouraged. This is usually why people are convinced that they are incapable of safe indoor flight and go right back to clipping. I don't think there is much you can do to discourage flight for now but avoid encouraging it either.

Mangoismybird wrote:And are ceiling fans still dangerous when they're not in use? I have one in my room and I won't be able to take it out, though I have AC and I never use it. should I maybe blanket it when she's out if she's flighted? Thanks.


Personally I would remove the ceiling fan entirely because I would not take the chance of someone turning it on by accident and because it's going to be annoying. The bird is without a doubt going to claim it as it's favorite perch. Not only is it going to poop on and from there but it may be difficult to get it down if it's high up. Once again, since it's probably not your call you'll probably just have to deal with it. If you can get your parents to unwire and disable the fan switch, that ensures someone can't turn it on and is the next safest option (and allows for the fan to be re-enabled when needed). If none of those options are available, you can tape over the fan switch (as a reminder to yourself and others) and even hang a note next to it explaining not to turn it on. The ceiling fan is just an accident waiting to happen so it's important to preemptively prevent it as much as possible.

Some more reasons the entire family has to be completely onboard with you keeping a parrot even if they never touch or pay for it:

-Teflon: they can't use teflon pans/cookware and have to replace them with alternatives or the fumes could kill your bird even in your own room
-Noise: they have to be willing to put up with it
-Mess: dust, feathers, etc inevitably end up all over the place

Probably more reasons that I'm overlooking right now. But the point is that my argument isn't clipped vs flighted. It's flighted vs suitability of parrot ownership at all.
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Michael
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Andromeda » Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:31 pm

Michael wrote:You may just need something more motivating (could mean feeding less before). It's just about getting the inertia going of going back and forth that he is confident and not thinking about it and spreading the gap a little at a time. A possible sucker move is to have a hand/foot on the perch he's moving to and just jerking it a little further away as he crosses and has to flap to make it across. Super reward this and make a huge deal about how great it is he flew, big treats, etc to make up for scare so he doesn't want to not try again. Once you get him to figure out to flap as he moves across, it's all just practice from there but easy. You can see in my first time recall vids that they didn't know what to do at first either but once they figured it out, we made progress in giant leaps.


Thanks so much, Michael. I do withhold food for a few hours before a training session and I make sure to offer what motivates him most (walnuts).

I do increase the distance little by little but I never really thought of just encouraging the inertia by trying to get him to go back and forth as quickly as possible. I will try that for sure.

I don't think I'll jerk the perch. I'm sure that would work with some birds but Jimmy has trust issues and holds a grudge like nobody's business.

I watched your recall videos a few times and they were very helpful but both your birds seem more confident than my Jimmy. He's a rescue and has tameness and fearfulness issues so he doesn't do anything without being extremely cautious.

Michael wrote:
-Teflon: they can't use teflon pans/cookware and have to replace them with alternatives or the fumes could kill your bird even in your own room


Mangoismybird, I just want to re-post that bit there because that can't be said enough. Teflon (PTFE) is deadly and should not be used in a house with birds, period. Dupont will tell you it's "safe" if not overheated (as will some bird owners) but the reality is that sometimes it's not safe under "normal" conditions and it just takes one time and the bird is dead.

I'm not going to name names but my husband and I know a couple that had three cockatiels and we told them repeatedly to get rid of their Teflon. We told them how dangerous it was. We even sent them links (including one to Dupont's own website) but they ignored us. Three years later the husband calls us up and says, "Darnedest thing, two of my birds just dropped dead." Upon further inquiry what did we find? The wife had bought a brand new Teflon frying pan the day before and had used it right before the birds died.

And yes, we said, "I told you so" to which the couple basically said, "Well, we really don't think it was the frying pan that killed our birds." :roll:
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby DanielA » Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:14 pm

My birdie still has wings clipped, but is slowly growing them back!
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Eurycerus » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:42 pm

Is it possible that a bird will never learn? (based on age?) I realize that a bird clipped as a baby is already at a disadvantage but because I adopted I knew that I was going to have to deal with that since all of the older birds I looked at were clipped.

I strongly support a flying bird and the little lady I adopted is clipped. She doesn't even appear to try and fly. It's really sad to see her want to go somewhere or do something but she can't. I read all the comments and the suggestions are wonderful. Once we built a bond and have worked through basic training I will work on getting her strong enough to even attempt to fly.
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby liz » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:41 pm

I have been working with Rambo. He does not have flight feathers. When he is on my hand I lift him up and down. He flapps on the down. Then he flapps enough to get lift and flies to the couch. I hope someday to get his muscles built up enough so he can jump off his cage and stay airborne for longer distances. One day he managed to get from the sunroom to the living room but then crash landed on a cat.
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