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Old 09-28-2015, 01:58 PM
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Never done free flight before.. help!!

Thank you to all who reply to my question! I have a 28-year-old orange wing Amazon who is full of energy. I've had him for about a year now and we've bonded well for the most part. He is in love, obsessed ,inseparable with this certain chain toy. I've always wanted to be able to take him outside, but I'm always afraid he'll fly away. He's been outside before in his cage to enjoy fresh air but he's never been outside without one. The only way I really train him is with his chain. He literally goes wherever the thing is that is the only way I can get him to step up or stay on my shoulders.. so my theory is if I take him outside he'll focus on the toy. if he were to fly into a tree I could just shake his chain and he'll fly to me because that's what he does inside .my other option is is a bird harness which I'm pretty sure I would never be able to get on him because he is a biter or clipping his wings but I really do not want to ruin his beautiful feathers.. I just want him to be able to be outside and fly around but come back or take him places to show him off
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Old 09-28-2015, 02:13 PM
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Re: Never done free flight before.. help!!

If you don't know what you are doing, chances are you will lose your bird!

Harness train!

You DON'T just take a flighted bird outside hoping that he will come back for his favorite toy... BECAUSE HE MIGHT NOT... HE COULD FLY OFF AND GET LOST. (AND CHANCES ARE HE WILL, JUST TO GET A LOOK AT THE GREAT OUTDOORS FOR THE FIRST TIME.)

THIS IS AN INSANELY RISKY THING TO DO... IF HE ISN'T TRAINED.

And if a captive bird gets lost, he doesn't have any wild bird forraging skills, and has not flock for protection. That means they starve to death or die of thirst, if the predators don't get him first.

YOU CAN'T LEARN FREE FLIGHT TRAINING OVER AN INTERNET CHAT ROOM. It's a very involved sort of training.

If you're bird doesn't know STEP UP yet, and NO BITE yet, then why would you think he'd be ready for FLY TO ME ON COMMAND?!

The first steps are done in an environment where they can't fly off and get lost. NOT the great outdoors.

Last edited by Birdman666; 09-28-2015 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 09-28-2015, 02:18 PM
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Re: Never done free flight before.. help!!

Of course I would never do that because I think it will work.. I just want to find a safer way. What ways have you guys taught your bird to harness train?
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:27 AM
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Re: Never done free flight before.. help!!

You could look into positive reinforcement training and substitute food rewards for some time with his chain toy. Harness training requires you to at least be able to touch your bird's back, wings and tail and if you cannot yet that is the first thing I would work on. Go very slow and use rewards, never force him to let you handle him. Then you will have to introduce a new and probably scary item to him - the harness - and use rewards and/or time to get him used to seeing the harness. Once he is comfortable being around it, you then have to teach him to let you put it on him - another long chain of steps that can easily cause anxiety of you move too fast or don't earn his trust along the way. Each harness works differently, some require you to pick your bird up, pull wings through, move feet etc.
Then there is so much more to teach him before you can bring him outdoors safely! He will have to step up and step down on cue, and that's not just relying on him following his toy around as if he is scared he needs to seek you out for safety and be secure with you holding him. Fearful parrots will not be responsive to toys or treats. Then you will have to get him used to new potentially scary experiences because outside is full of these! If you want to "show him off" you will also have to socialize him with not only friends but people he sees as strangers as well so he is comfortable being shown off. It is a long road to go from where you are now to outside adventures with him, but if you are patient it is a good long term goal!
As has already been said, please please do not let him free fly hoping he will return for a toy he likes indoors!! Free flight is the ultimate in trust - and one of the ultimate risks - for our birds and many owners who have amazing bonds with their birds do not even risk indoor flight let alone outdoor free flight. Keep in mind as well, harnesses break and the biggest safety net you can build for a flighted bird is an incredible bond built on trust. Above all please know your bird's current limits!
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:55 AM
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Re: Never done free flight before.. help!!

Not sure where you're located, but look for some parrot clubs in your area.

As other people have said, you have some other training to do first. I'd also recommend getting or making two freestanding perches. I like to color code things, so for example green for "start" and red for "land." which you can translate later into wrapping your arm with something red or wearing red. Practice in your home, start with a hallway or somewhere direct.

Save your bird's favorite treats for training. Get a whistle or something loud with a distinct sound. Start with the two perches close together and make him step back and forth, and slowly move them apart, eventually getting him to fly from one to the other. Increase to three or four perches, teach him to go to the one you want.

This is only the beginning, and this is only indoors. Doing this while also building trust, and getting him used to a harness. It's going to be a long while before you can truly do free flight, and I hate to say that not all birds are suited to it. Birdman is very knowledgeable about this, and has practiced extensively, and even he has had bad experiences. Your mileage may vary, as the world outside your home is a very scary, interesting and stimulating place for your bird. But you CAN teach your bird to fly safely within your home.
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