Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why my birds are flighted

I had researched bird care for months before I got my first bird, a cockatiel. All the literature I’d read said the same things: If you keep your bird flighted, he won’t want to interact with you. It’s impossible to keep a flighted bird safe. Flighted birds fly into windows, mirrors, and pots of boiling water. Responsible bird owners keep their bird’s wings clipped. And so on.

So I had my Mojo clipped.

Soon enough, she went through a molt and grew in pretty new flight feathers. Since she’d been flightless for so long, she didn’t realize that flight was good, and she really only used her newly-found freedom when something scared her and her instincts told her to flee. I didn’t know anything about keeping flighted birds back then and we all (my family and I) made many mistakes. The biggest mistake resulted in Mojo and my sister’s cockatiel, Nadia, getting out the door and disappearing forever.

I made a decision: I would always keep my birds clipped.

Fast forward a couple years, and as I got over the grief of losing the cockatiels, my feelings about clipping softened. I started perusing various websites with information from people who believed in keeping birds flighted, and got a whole new set of theories and beliefs: Clipped birds can never be as physically fit as a bird than gets the rigorous exercise that flying provides. Flighted birds are smarter than clipped birds because they use more of their brains. A flighted bird is more secure and mentally stable than a clipped bird. And so on.

This new information made sense to me! It wasn’t just words I felt I should believe because they were written in a book, it was stuff that made me think and consider, and eventually it became something I agreed with wholeheartedly to the point where I decided to let my birds grow out their wings.

My birds are now all fully flighted, and we’re all happier than ever.

They still always want to interact with me, in fact I feel my bond with each of them has grown substantially and vice versa. They are no longer subject to various household dangers because they have the ability to avoid these dangers, they can flee. I wouldn’t say they were unhappy before, but they definitely enjoy life a lot more now that they can fly like they were designed to. And I get to revel in the beauty of life with flying parrots.

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