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.
 

Tikitiel

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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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Feb 6, 2010
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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 wing😉
 
OP
foxgloveparrot

foxgloveparrot

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Jasper (yellow-naped amazon) Lilla (senegal parrot) Ziggy and Kai (budgies) Cricket (parrotlet)
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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 🙂
 

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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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
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.
 

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