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Old 06-23-2019, 12:58 AM
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Free flight support?

HI!

Iím hoping to find the most active and supportive online free-flight community. I live in Seattle, WA, and local contacts would be awesome too.

My 23 year old Yellow Naped Amazon Puck just returned to me after 15 years with his ďgrandma.Ē I hand raised him and had him for his first 8 years. Now heís back with me, definitely remembers me, and we are getting reacquainted.

To my shock, he returned with full, gorgeous, completely unclipped wings. Iím told that they havenít clipped him in many years, but he has never flown! Apparently heís never even tried. Since I last had Puck, Iíve had one other bird, a parrotlet, who was fully flighted his whole life, who I did flight/recall train (though never outdoors.) Iíve been hoping to flight train Puck, but I wasnít expecting him to be fully feathered so soon. So now I realize that I need to speed up my learning curve substantially!

Any pointers on the best place to find community and support will be really appreciated.

Thanks,
Dawn
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:43 AM
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Re: Free flight support?

Americans tend to frown on free flight. That being said, I've seen Dutch, Aussies, and SE Asians do it.

The biggest thing for free-flight is to be completely solid on recall. Not just in a home setting, but also in a variety of environments (so yes, start with a harness). Your bird also needs to learn safely how to navigate. It's easy to fly indoors, but it's another thing to handle gusts of wind.

Once you get the recall solid and basic flight down, your next concern should be about predators - not just birds of prey but also crows, dogs, and humans. In addition, other things can spook birds - loud sounds, flashes of light, etc. A lot of birds whom their owners think are trained enough end up in trees, then get spooked off from there by local wild birds


If you talk to free flight communities, they will tell you that you must be prepared to lose your bird. I've seen even well-trained birds who free-fly for years get lost. And when you lose your bird for a while, they run the risk of picking up wild diseases. My vet doesn't accept free-flying birds because it's happened to our local free-flying community. So if you do find a community, make sure they're tested and not carriers.

.

Our Cairo was a free-flyer with his previous family. That's actually how we met him. He flew off and was lost for a week. In the meantime, somebody caught him and snipped off his closed id ring in a likely attempt to resell him. He landed on our balcony 4km away, and we managed to find his family again (we later adopted him when they had a newborn baby).

We don't free-fly him, but we fly him on an Aviator harness and a Kevlar kite line. It still stresses me out.

.

I'll add more in a bit - just need to quickly run some house errands. Feel free to ask me anything! Am one of the few people around here in touch with a free-flying community.
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*He grew up in a Malay-speaking family, so we have to respect his name and preferred pronunciation

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Old 06-23-2019, 08:32 AM
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Re: Free flight support?

Time too slow down!

Your Amazon is no longer a baby and per your Post has likely never flown. This implies that the flight muscle structure, air sacks /lungs, and heart are underdeveloped. Your starting point is at your Avian Professional, with hope a Certified Avian Vet (CAV) for an intense physical examination of those structures by both hands-on and detailed full-spectrum blood testing to assure your Amazon is capable of learning to fly.

Parrots that have never flown are likely to develop heart issues that will limit their level of activity. If those structures are healthy, just like Humans, they will require an extended recovery period to redevelop the muscles and their support systems to support flight.

So, prior to finding a group to fly with, first get to your Avian Professional for a detailed examination! Assure that you state your intention of flight training your Parrot.
If you get approval to begin the slow process of first building the strength to fly and then flight itself. You will want to be visiting your Avian Professional at least once every three months for follow-ups.

See the I Love Amazon -... Thread for additional information on flight training your non-flier!!!
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Last edited by SailBoat; 06-23-2019 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 06-23-2019, 01:30 PM
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Re: Free flight support?

Quote: Originally Posted by SailBoat View Post
Time too slow down!

Your Amazon is no longer a baby and per your Post has likely never flown. This implies that the flight muscle structure, air sacks /lungs, and heart are underdeveloped. Your starting point is at your Avian Professional, with hope a Certified Avian Vet (CAV) for an intense physical examination of those structures by both hands-on and detailed full-spectrum blood testing to assure your Amazon is capable of learning to fly.

Parrots that have never flown are likely to develop heart issues that will limit their level of activity. If those structures are healthy, just like Humans, they will require an extended recovery period to redevelop the muscles and their support systems to support flight.

So, prior to finding a group to fly with, first get to your Avian Professional for a detailed examination! Assure that you state your intention of flight training your Parrot.
If you get approval to begin the slow process of first building the strength to fly and then flight itself. You will want to be visiting your Avian Professional at least once every three months for follow-ups.

See the I Love Amazon -... Thread for additional information on flight training your non-flier!!!


All of Sailboatís advice is sound. Always. I use The Center for Birds and Exotic Animal Medicine in Bothell. They have two certified avian vets on staff.

Oh and I have a parrotlet


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Old 06-23-2019, 01:41 PM
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Re: Free flight support?

Quote: Originally Posted by SailBoat View Post
Time too slow down!

Your Amazon is no longer a baby and per your Post has likely never flown. This implies that the flight muscle structure, air sacks /lungs, and heart are underdeveloped. Your starting point is at your Avian Professional, with hope a Certified Avian Vet (CAV) for an intense physical examination of those structures by both hands-on and detailed full-spectrum blood testing to assure your Amazon is capable of learning to fly.

Parrots that have never flown are likely to develop heart issues that will limit their level of activity. If those structures are healthy, just like Humans, they will require an extended recovery period to redevelop the muscles and their support systems to support flight.

So, prior to finding a group to fly with, first get to your Avian Professional for a detailed examination! Assure that you state your intention of flight training your Parrot.
If you get approval to begin the slow process of first building the strength to fly and then flight itself. You will want to be visiting your Avian Professional at least once every three months for follow-ups.

See the I Love Amazon -... Thread for additional information on flight training your non-flier!!!
Yep agreed 100%
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Old 07-21-2019, 10:35 PM
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Re: Free flight support?

Once your amazon is vetted and ready to fly, Flight Club Foundation is a Seattle and Tacoma based indoor free flying and socializing club. I haven’t been yet but they reccomend you come to check it out without your bird first. You will have to provide a clean bill of health from a CAV before you can bring your parrot anyway. I think the next Seattle meetup is August 2nd but you can find them on Facebook!

I’m going to try to make it also to check it out and see if it’s smaller-bird friendly. I think they fly in a gymnasium or similar so it’s not fully outdoors which might be safer if you are like me and don’t have free flight experience!
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Old 07-22-2019, 08:27 AM
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Re: Free flight support?

Hello fellow pacific northwesterner (I’m a little south of the Portland area). A few things I’d like to address-

First, as Sailboat said so excellently, you first need to find out if your new friend is in good enough health to learn to fly and then if he is, will need to do exercises for some time to build the muscles necessary to even sustain flight. It took our bird about a year of “flapping” exercises to build any muscles and also to not sound like he was about to keel over after a short session because he was breathing so hard.

Second, while he may well learn he may also have no interest in learning. My now 21 year old rescue amazon (whom we adopted age 10) was never flighted as a baby and despite our best efforts over the years, has no interest in learning. He does enjoy sitting on our hands (fingers firmly grasping toesies) and flapping his wings as we carry him from point a to b, but actually flying himself? Nope. No interest whatsoever. And it’s proven to be a hazard to even have him flighted as a few times he’s panic flown and since he has no sense of control of him movements, has injured himself (on several occasions). We keep him light clipped, just enough that he can’t get lift or fly full speed into solid objects anymore. He panic flies maybe once a year. He sticks his little foot up for rides all the time, that’s how he gets around. He’s a very happy, active, well adjusted bird and loves his flapping exercises which his vet says still provide him a good workout

Last but not least, I’d be concerned with free flight up here in the PNW because there are a lot of predatory wild birds and parrots are a tasty brightly colored target. I’ve seen several species of hawks (all the time) and even a big eagle occasionally right out my living room window! And while I’m unsure the risk they’d pose to a parrot, we once had a big fledgling blue heron crash land about 2 feet away from us sitting on our deck at our prior home (that was the last time Kiwi was outside unsheltered up here). Kiwi actually used to come outside all the time no harness or cage when we lived in another state but after moving to Oregon, I no longer feel safe letting him do that. I’m not worried about him taking off, I’m worried something will swoop down and eat him! Please scope out future potential free flight areas very carefully. Especially in Seattle. I’ve heard you guys have something of a bald eagle problem in the area.
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Last edited by Kiwibird; 07-22-2019 at 08:48 AM.
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