After recent scare, behavioral problems with life changes

20brio19

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Long story short, my 4yo male Pionus enjoyed an active life where my retired parents would take him to their home in the afternoon when I was at work and just enjoy him and vice versa, then I would take him back home to be with me the rest of the evening.

This went amazingly well for years untill 3 weeks ago my dad made a mistake taking him to the cage in the garden and he flew away. After a gruelling 28 hours, by nearly a miracle I found him the next day with help from the neighborhood/social media and he was back in our lives.

This incident scared us so much and we really count our blessings now, but we're too worried that it would happen again with a different outcome. So now we only keep him at my house which is a far more parrot-safe place. My parents now come to my house to visit him and I'm back later in the day after work.

Understandably, Brio misses going to their home and spending time with them. So recently his behavior is changing. He displays a lot more aggression than before, today he injured me after I don't even remember the last time he made me bleed. He also quietly sits on top of his transport cage for periods, givnig me obvious hints..

My heart breaks that it's no longer the same, but I also don't ever want to put my (now elderly) parents through the same thing again and they reluctantly agree.

I have thought about wing clipping, which I never liked the idea plus I hear stories of clipped birds still escaping anyway, and if it happens again I don't think he survives with the ton of outside cats in my neighborhood. My parents' house has constant visits from people, doors/windows open etc. it just seems risky even if I tackle the issue there. Any advice would be appriciated.
 
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DonnaBudgie

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Long story short, my 4yo male Pionus enjoyed an active life where my retired parents would take him to their home in the afternoon when I was at work and just enjoy him and vice versa, then I would take him back home to be with me the rest of the evening.

This went amazingly well for years untill 3 weeks ago my dad made a mistake taking him to the cage in the garden and he flew away. After a gruelling 28 hours, by nearly a miracle I found him the next day with help from the neighborhood/social media and he was back in our lives.

This incident scared us so much and we really count our blessings now, but we're too worried that it would happen again with a different outcome. So now we only keep him at my house which is a far more parrot-safe place. My parrots simply come to my house to visit him and I'm back later in the day after work.

Understandably, Brio misses going to their home and spending time with them. So recently his behavior is changing. He displays a lot more aggression than before, today he injured me after I don't even remember the last time he made me bleed. He also quietly sits on top of his transport cage for periods, givnig me obvious hints..

My heart breaks that it's no longer the same, but I also don't ever want to put my (now elderly) parents through the same thing again and they reluctantly agree.

I have thought about wing clipping, which I never liked the idea plus I hear stories of clipped birds still escaping anyway, and if it happens again I don't think he survives with the ton of outside cats in my neighborhood. My parents' house has constant visits from people, doors/windows open etc. it just seems risky even if I tackle the issue there. Any advice would be appriciated.
A slight wing trim would humanely prevent another escape. Brio would still enjoy being able to fly but won't be able fly too far or too high. Brio obviously isn't happy not visiting his grandparents. It's far more cruel to deny him these visits than to trim his wings just enough to be safe.
 

Terry57

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I'm so sorry that this is happening:(
A clipped bird can still fly, so I wouldn't count on that stopping him from escaping.
Could your parents just keep him indoors with them rather than take him outside? It sounds like they miss Brio as much as he misses them.
 
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20brio19

20brio19

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I'm so sorry that this is happening:(
A clipped bird can still fly, so I wouldn't count on that stopping him from escaping.
Could your parents just keep him indoors with them rather than take him outside? It sounds like they miss Brio as much as he misses them.

That was one of the things we discussed, yes. I still have to do something about the outside door not being closed before people enter the living room. I am kind of handy so looking into modifications for the house is an option but it needs to be reliable.

How do other parrot owners deal with this issue? Any advice is appriciated.
 
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20brio19

20brio19

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A slight wing trim would humanely prevent another escape. Brio would still enjoy being able to fly but won't be able fly too far or too high. Brio obviously isn't happy not visiting his grandparents. It's far more cruel to deny him these visits than to trim his wings just enough to be safe.

That's true. When Brio was younger he had a plucking issue which resolved later, but because of that he never was into flying much, he does it sparingly or when he's spooked by a big crow flying past the window.
I could atleast try it as a precation, but Terry57 also has a point about the wing trimming..
 

Rosalindagg

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I would please advise you to be cautious if you do decide to trim the wings ! My cockatiel came with his wings trimmed and he still tries to fly and he just keeps getting injured! He likes to follow my other flying cockatiel but obviously he can’t fly very well so he will slam into things or fall because he can’t fly high enough
 

DonnaBudgie

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That's true. When Brio was younger he had a plucking issue which resolved later, but because of that he never was into flying much, he does it sparingly or when he's spooked by a big crow flying past the window.
I could atleast try it as a precation, but Terry57 also has a point about the wing trimming..
I realize a bird with a minor wing trim can still escape but at least he won't be able to fly too far and too high so you can follow him and catch him and not watch him fly over the rooftops never to be seen again. I am terrified of Rocky flying away and getting lost so I trim her primary flight feathers. She's still a very coordinated flyer. Never flown into anything.
 

JinPicaJest

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In addition to working to make your parents' home safer for Brio, can you think of temporary additions to his life to take the place of the missed visits? I know you said your parents now come to your place, which is great, and still gives him social time with them. Could you also think of any quick after work trips you could take him on, like going to a cafe and sitting outside with him in his carrier? Sitting outside in a park maybe? Anything little outing that still gets him out and about?
 

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My rule, after losing a loved parrot many years ago, parrots that go outside are either in a travel cage or carrier ( we use a Pak-o-Bird) or in a harness. All windows have screens on them. Open and closing door protocol is beaten into the family members. Often. With a wet noodle.

And the other members are 100% correct - a clipped parrot CAN fly away if sufficiently scared or spooked. The extra adrenaline provides the muscle power to ESCAPE at any costs.
 

Terry57

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That was one of the things we discussed, yes. I still have to do something about the outside door not being closed before people enter the living room. I am kind of handy so looking into modifications for the house is an option but it needs to be reliable.

How do other parrot owners deal with this issue? Any advice is appriciated.

Have you looked into the magnetic screens? They work really well for situations like that:)

Here is an example:

MAGZO Magnetic Screen Door


I realize a bird with a minor wing trim can still escape but at least he won't be able to fly too far and too high so you can follow him and catch him and not watch him fly over the rooftops never to be seen again. I am terrified of Rocky flying away and getting lost so I trim her primary flight feathers. She's still a very coordinated flyer. Never flown into anything.
Donna, I have to respectfully disagree with you here. All it takes is a gust of wind and your bird is gone, just as if their wings weren't trimmed.
I'm a member of a FB group where people go out and help others find their escaped birds, and this happens all the time. People believe that just because their wings were clipped that they can't get far, and it sadly isn't true.
 

DonnaBudgie

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Have you looked into the magnetic screens? They work really well for situations like that:)

Here is an example:

MAGZO Magnetic Screen Door



Donna, I have to respectfully disagree with you here. All it takes is a gust of wind and your bird is gone, just as if their wings weren't trimmed.
I'm a member of a FB group where people go out and help others find their escaped birds, and this happens all the time. People believe that just because their wings were clipped that they can't get far, and it sadly isn't true.
Okay. So why are people so against wing trimming if it doesn't stop birds from enjoying flight? I just know that my budgies that a slightly trimmed can't fly as far or high without getting tired out. I'm so terrified out my kids escaping. It's happened to me a few times and I only got one back. I want to cry when I hear that one of our member's beloved birds has escaped and is lost.
I recently had a screen door installed on my back door and the main door opens into the room from left to right and the screen door opens out from right to left. This set up makes it much less likely that one of my birds could follow me out of the house before I can prevent it.
 

DonnaBudgie

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My rule, after losing a loved parrot many years ago, parrots that go outside are either in a travel cage or carrier ( we use a Pak-o-Bird) or in a harness. All windows have screens on them. Open and closing door protocol is beaten into the family members. Often. With a wet noodle.

And the other members are 100% correct - a clipped parrot CAN fly away if sufficiently scared or spooked. The extra adrenaline provides the muscle power to ESCAPE at any costs.
I NEVER deliberately take my birds (even if clipped) outside unless they are caged or in carriers because YES the right gust of wind and I could lose them. I don't think my budgies would take to a harness. My lost birds have been open window accidents.
 

wrench13

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As a parrot owner you never want to take the wind for granted. Its why they point aircraft carriers into the wind when planes are taking off. With out that extra Omph of wind, even grossly overpowered fighter jets would have trouble taking off. A 20-30 knot wind+ the 30-40 knots of the carrier, whoosh they go right up. Just like a scared parrot!
 
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20brio19

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Well, thanks for the input so far. I made an appointment for next friday to get his wings trimmed. Looking into bug screens and door locks to get my parents home ready. My biggest worry is the front door opening before the living room door and also the garden back door. I'll try to figure things out.
 

DonnaBudgie

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Well, thanks for the input so far. I made an appointment for next friday to get his wings trimmed. Looking into bug screens and door locks to get my parents home ready. My biggest worry is the front door opening before the living room door and also the garden back door. I'll try to figure things out.
The magnetic screen idea (sold at Lowes and probably Home Depot) is inexpensive an easy.
 

Briburd

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Sounds like everyone (especially your parents) learned a very important lesson and maybe now going forward extra precautions can be taken. I think majority of birds that get lost is because owners get too comfortable. If I understand you correctly your dad walked outside with your bird for just a second and while attempting to put your bird in its outdoor cage it got spooked and flew away correct? This IS how many birds get away. So the biggest change is them understanding they can’t bring your bird outside unless already in a cage. As far as wing clipping I’m not one to be totally against it and it seems like you know that even with clipped wings the same thing can still happen, I just worry if your parents will understand. I say to give you a peace of mind you can clip them, stress to your parents that even with clipped wings they can not walk outside with em freely. The clipped wings could help in other scenarios by slowing birdy down in flight. Also they will grow back if you decide to not keep up with it. So if it were me I’d clipped the wings at least for one molting season for a peace of mind and stress to the parents they can’t bring the bird outside with out me there. Then later down the road allow them to only bring bird outside in travel carrier that has been triple checked that all latches are secure. Good luck!
 

DonnaBudgie

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Sounds like everyone (especially your parents) learned a very important lesson and maybe now going forward extra precautions can be taken. I think majority of birds that get lost is because owners get too comfortable. If I understand you correctly your dad walked outside with your bird for just a second and while attempting to put your bird in its outdoor cage it got spooked and flew away correct? This IS how many birds get away. So the biggest change is them understanding they can’t bring your bird outside unless already in a cage. As far as wing clipping I’m not one to be totally against it and it seems like you know that even with clipped wings the same thing can still happen, I just worry if your parents will understand. I say to give you a peace of mind you can clip them, stress to your parents that even with clipped wings they can not walk outside with em freely. The clipped wings could help in other scenarios by slowing birdy down in flight. Also they will grow back if you decide to not keep up with it. So if it were me I’d clipped the wings at least for one molting season for a peace of mind and stress to the parents they can’t bring the bird outside with out me there. Then later down the road allow them to only bring bird outside in travel carrier that has been triple checked that all latches are secure. Good luck!
We can control what we do (hopefully) but it's so much harder when it comes to family members, housemates and visiting friends. They usually mean well but their caution meter is often not dialed as high as ours. I am ALWAYS aware of where my bird is when she's out of her cage. It's hard to expect the same level of diligence from everyone who steps foot in your home.
 
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20brio19

20brio19

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Sounds like everyone (especially your parents) learned a very important lesson and maybe now going forward extra precautions can be taken. I think majority of birds that get lost is because owners get too comfortable. If I understand you correctly your dad walked outside with your bird for just a second and while attempting to put your bird in its outdoor cage it got spooked and flew away correct? This IS how many birds get away. So the biggest change is them understanding they can’t bring your bird outside unless already in a cage. As far as wing clipping I’m not one to be totally against it and it seems like you know that even with clipped wings the same thing can still happen, I just worry if your parents will understand. I say to give you a peace of mind you can clip them, stress to your parents that even with clipped wings they can not walk outside with em freely. The clipped wings could help in other scenarios by slowing birdy down in flight. Also they will grow back if you decide to not keep up with it. So if it were me I’d clipped the wings at least for one molting season for a peace of mind and stress to the parents they can’t bring the bird outside with out me there. Then later down the road allow them to only bring bird outside in travel carrier that has been triple checked that all latches are secure. Good luck!

Sound advice. Yes, that's pretty much how it happened. He developed a plucking problem a few years ago(from being alone too much as I work long hours. It stopped when his life was enriched by the daily visits to my parents. By now the feathers are close to fully grown again) he never flew much and we never saw him take flight, he prefers to climb and walk around so there was a very false sense of security developed and I blame it all on myself. I still almost can't believe I was blessed with a second chance here. Can't ever let it happen again.
 
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20brio19

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Couple of months later now. Things have been going better, I made the safety adjustments at my parents' home and I bring him over to visit a few times a week. Not daily like before, but I think enough times to really make him happy.

I got another problem now though. My Pionus has developed aggressive behavior towards my right hand. Yes, at times when I play with him he might attack my right fingers/hand. Specifically.

I suspect this has to do with the day I grabbed him out of the tree with my right hand pretty hard(I had to, I was dangling pretty high up in a tree and desperate to get him).

Any advice on what to do about this? He adores head and neck rubs, and I can use my right hand too sometimes trying to gain back his trust. But it's very risky, he can just snap and nip me hard till I'm bleeding so it's a price to pay.
 

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