Is free flight worth the risk?

foxgloveparrot

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Hello, I have been considering free flight for my amazon for a little while, doing research on training and other things I want to know. I don't know very much about free flight, having never done it before or researched it in depth. I know it can get dangerous for the bird and I would never forgive myself if something happened to my beautiful boy, but on the other hand, it seems like a wonderful thing to do if everything goes well. I can't decide if I should risk it or not. I would greatly appreciate any advice, thanks in advance.
 

chris-md

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Is it worth it? Only you can answer that.

it’s a lot of time and - preferably - financial investment with an experienced trainer given that your birds life is literally on the line.

Properly trained individuals and birds often report absolutely nothing like the joy of a free flighted bird. When you know what you are doing, you minimize the risks to a point where you are perfectly comfortable.

Problem is, you minimize, you don’t eliminate. mistakes happen and even the best trained birds can have a fly off or a fatal encounter with a raptor.
 

fiddlejen

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As Chris-MD stated it is indeed a huge risk and only you can decide whether you can be comfortable with the risk. Certainly it is an endeavor that requires dedication and discipline.

I would only add, that you must also consider your region. Myself, although it is a lovely pipe dream for which my bird would not qualify even if I were skilled to train her (and I'm not) there would be the further obstacle of the Large Numbers of Prey-birds in this region. There may be areas where, while still a risk, they would not be such an overwhelming threat.

I would suggest giving serious thought to things such as predators and also geography (ie line-of-sight), and your ability to follow in search if needed. I would think (also my impression from free-flight videos Ive watched in the past) that it would be safest to do this in an area where you can see for a good distance, and perhaps where you might have ability to follow in a vehicle for a distance if needed.

IF your area meets all these criteria, and you feel confident that you can learn to do the training well, and evaluating your bird you think it's a good candidate -- THEN evaluate your own comfort with risk and potential for shorter life for the bird, against the potential for great joy for the bird and also yourself.

I pray for you to make you a wise and loving decision, either way!
 

wrench13

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Ditto on all of the above. We have member here, who free flighted his Scarlet Macaw for years and flew with her almost daily. A real champ at free flight. One day a man in a house that bordered the flight field was painting his house, and the ladder fell over unexpectedly. It scared his macaw and poof! off she went, never to be seen again. And this member is a EXPERT level macaw trainer.

The only place I would consider to free fly is somewhere there is flat open country for MILES, like in the mid-west here, or the Aussi outback. That and the total absence of predatory birds are 2 BIG BIG considerations. There is a vid on YT of a bird show in Fla, with a trainer and a big cockatoo. In the middle of the show, a raptor flew down and hit the cockatoo, WHILE IT WAS ON THE GUY'S SHOULDER!! It was an unsuccessful attempt, but is a good illustration of how parrots can become dinner for a raptor.

There are a few people who free fly with the parrot in a flight harness, like the aviator, and they use a LONG retractable dog leash to make sure the parrot is under control, but wow, thats a LONG time of training , even for that, and you still need to worry abut raptors.
 

Zoruace

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We have member here, who free flighted his Scarlet Macaw for years and flew with her almost daily. A real champ at free flight. One day a man in a house that bordered the flight field was painting his house, and the ladder fell over unexpectedly. It scared his macaw and poof! off she went, never to be seen again.
the exact same happened to my sun conure he would never ignore my recalls and would fly daily we just turned on the vaccuem and poof she is gone good thing is we did find her later on
all of the above are great advices
its up to you wither its worth the risk or not
 

SailBoat

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Maryland is growing raptor State, which means that there are several small to large raptor in growing numbers in your area. We live in Western Michigan and our raptor population is huge. From ultra large Buzzers and Eagles to small Hawks. Red Tail Hawks are the largest volume, but I have seen nearly all the others within five miles of our home. Long way to say we are a Zero Outside Free Flight Home.

It is critical to understand that a flight driven by fear has a minimum of five seconds too much longer flight of zero knowledge of where they are going. Hence the need for expert training with a ton of time targeting "Recall Training."

England was really big into Free-flight training and had large groups that would gather to fly their Parrots. Then their raptors began returning after years of near zero populations. They now rent empty buildings to fly inside.

Our Amazon is Fully Flighted and is Free Roaming within our home. There is nothing more enjoyable of have one's Amazon looking at you as he is flying at you and than watching him hit a deep pump and pop over your head as he continues past you.

Inside your home with "Recall Training" and teaching you Parrot "Hard Surfaces" are a must!
 

chris-md

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Ditto on all of the above. We have member here, who free flighted his Scarlet Macaw for years and flew with her almost daily. A real champ at free flight. One day a man in a house that bordered the flight field was painting his house, and the ladder fell over unexpectedly. It scared his macaw and poof! off she went, never to be seen again. And this member is a EXPERT level macaw trainer.

The only place I would consider to free fly is somewhere there is flat open country for MILES, like in the mid-west here, or the Aussi outback. That and the total absence of predatory birds are 2 BIG BIG considerations. There is a vid on YT of a bird show in Fla, with a trainer and a big cockatoo. In the middle of the show, a raptor flew down and hit the cockatoo, WHILE IT WAS ON THE GUY'S SHOULDER!! It was an unsuccessful attempt, but is a good illustration of how parrots can become dinner for a raptor.

There are a few people who free fly with the parrot in a flight harness, like the aviator, and they use a LONG retractable dog leash to make sure the parrot is under control, but wow, thats a LONG time of training , even for that, and you still need to worry abut raptors.

maggie was a green wingπŸ˜‰
 
OP
foxgloveparrot

foxgloveparrot

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  • Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the wonderful advice, I really appreciate it. I have done many more hours of research, and I have decided that free flight in my area would be too dangerous for me to risk it, and I will most likely be unable to put in all the time for all that training, or the money for a professional. There is a good reason I have not done it before and I know I should keep it that way. I will focus on improving my birds' lives for now, but I might start to fly him indoors. Thanks again for all the help πŸ™‚
 

AmyMyBlueFront

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My Amazon doesn't fly,never did. He is now 31 y.o. and I'd love to see him do whats he was born to do.We do flapflap lessons indoors to try and strengthen his arm muscles (wings) he thinks it's a game after only a few flaps he flips upside down on his perch stick,wiggling his arms as he gives me a goofy look..He's never gonna try to learn,would rather have me be his taxi.
I have envisioned him joyfully zooming around the soccer field or local park as I fly my drone,but even my drone has been attacked,once by a local red-tail in my own back yard and an attempt by a crow at the park..not worth it to me! I'd be devastated if anything happened to him! I'd much rather have him safe and sound,sitting on my shoulder as we go for adventures in the car which he dearly loves.


Jim
 

Scott

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Maryland is growing raptor State, which means that there are several small to large raptor in growing numbers in your area. We live in Western Michigan and our raptor population is huge. From ultra large Buzzers and Eagles to small Hawks. Red Tail Hawks are the largest volume, but I have seen nearly all the others within five miles of our home. Long way to say we are a Zero Outside Free Flight Home.

It is critical to understand that a flight driven by fear has a minimum of five seconds too much longer flight of zero knowledge of where they are going. Hence the need for expert training with a ton of time targeting "Recall Training."

England was really big into Free-flight training and had large groups that would gather to fly their Parrots. Then their raptors began returning after years of near zero populations. They now rent empty buildings to fly inside.

Our Amazon is Fully Flighted and is Free Roaming within our home. There is nothing more enjoyable of have one's Amazon looking at you as he is flying at you and than watching him hit a deep pump and pop over your head as he continues past you.

Inside your home with "Recall Training" and teaching you Parrot "Hard Surfaces" are a must!
Lovely discussion and advice thus far, though Steven's mention of raptors illustrates my reticence to free-fly. My locale rife with varied species of avian "stealth fighters" a moment's dive to oblivion. I could never live with myself with cavalier loss of beloved parrots.
 

Harpytacines

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Jun 15, 2022
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Lovebird
Is it worth it? Only you can answer that.

it’s a lot of time and - preferably - financial investment with an experienced trainer given that your birds life is literally on the line.

Properly trained individuals and birds often report absolutely nothing like the joy of a free flighted bird. When you know what you are doing, you minimize the risks to a point where you are perfectly comfortable.

Problem is, you minimize, you don’t eliminate. mistakes happen and even the best trained birds can have a fly off or a fatal encounter with a raptor.

Hello, I have been considering free flight for my amazon for a little while, doing research on training and other things I want to know. I don't know very much about free flight, having never done it before or researched it in depth. I know it can get dangerous for the bird and I would never forgive myself if something happened to my beautiful boy, but on the other hand, it seems like a wonderful thing to do if everything goes well. I can't decide if I should risk it or not. I would greatly appreciate any advice, thanks in advance.

Yes, it's worth the risk if you know what you are doing. Nothing is guaranteed in life. Even if you own a dog, it can get attacked in the dog park out of the blue....there are risks to everything, but if one wants to minimize it, then only fly indoor.
 

SailBoat

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I have continued to see this subject return and statements that it is 'worth' the 'risk'!!

Please provide what the 'advantages' (1., 2., 3., 4., 5.,) are that off-set the tragic loss of one's Parrot.
 

Harpytacines

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This is a persona decision, hopefully done with much thought. I could easily say as well confining a parrot to cage, whether it be a cage or an indoor home cage since they can fly outside is cruel. I can walk a dog outside and it can get attacked by another dog, a wild animal, even a horse. Some clipped parrots get stepped on more than flighted birds. If one is going to talk about minimizing risks, then no question keep them indoors, or controlled environments, but parrots that can free fly definitely get better exercise, mental stimulation. I've never lost a free flighted Lovebird before (I have had 3). I have lost Lovebirds being attacked by another Lovebird (aggressive mate, in aviaries). So yes, it's worth the risk, but only if it's been done with much thought and a professional, to minimize any risk just as much you would try to minimize any risk indoor.
 
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This isn't really advice, but most/all free-fliers say that nothing compares to the joy birds get when flying free (which is what they're supposed to do). If you have a good trainer, then I'd say it's worth the risk. I'd give anything to be able to free-fly my budgies, but sadly they are just too small and easily attract predators. Otherwise I totally would.
 

Harpytacines

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Yes, if there's far too many dangers in the immediate environment around you that can be predictably be noticed or expected, I would not free fly either even if my birds are fully trained flee flighted, small or large.
 

LeeC

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My personal motto in life has been that, "I'm not going to stop living to avoid dying." I never played in the freeway; but, I have taken some serious calculated risks--that few other people would take. Funny thing, now that I have parrot dependents, my calculation for risk has changed. :]

I think all captive-parrot keepers should consider the graduated scale of flight for their parrots. On the low end, we have clipped parrots. On the high-end, we have well-trained free-flight parrots, feeling the shifting wind in their faces and under their wings. There are many graduations in between.

[Edited to clarify my point]
I tried to start moderately high on the scale. My parrots are "full-liberty" in my open-floorplan house (with vaulted and cathedral ceilings), and I have added an oscillating, speed-changing fan at one end for some breeze. (That was quite interesting at first.)

However, I found that my first parrot was a "perch potato". (He had no inclination to take advantage of his newfound liberty and space. I had not considered this.) My second parrot was clipped his whole life. (Again, not inclined, or even able to take advantage of liberty and space) My third parrot has amazing flight skills. (She livened things up here, for sure. If she did a close fly-by, it would prompt a perch potato to take flight, for example.)

It took a lot of attentiveness, thoughtfulness, and creativity to encourage flight regularly throughout each day. Even when they now fly a lot in my house, I realize how much it pales in comparison to a day in the wild.

What I would like more parrot-keepers to realize is that there is plenty of opportunity for flight in our own homes. It does not have to be: do you free-fly or not? I actually try to estimate how much flight each of my parrots gets in a day, in feet, which again pales to the miles they would fly in the wild.

It has also been rewarding to see them gain skills in extremely short flights, from one branch to another close branch, especially if there are obstacles, necessitating deft maneuvering.

I hope to make a big outdoor aviary for them soon, for safe outdoor flight. Someday, I would love to free-fly parrots, as safely as possible.
 
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