Is moving too stress for parrots to handle?


New member
Mar 19, 2016
It's been a week since I've lost my baby cockatiel at young age due to a rare case of moving sickness, as described here. Although I still think of her everyday, I can thing about it calmly without the sadness overwhelms me. I've been meeting and talking with a lot people to talk about the situation and asking for advice. Friends, parents, co-workers, bird experts... you name them.
During this weekend, I sat down and gave some serious thoughts to decide whether if I should still look for another companion. While I was sorting out the reason that I should refrain from adopting another parrot, most were due to the condition that I'm at. Although I can manage those, one crucial reason really makes me hesitate to adopt one:

I'm an engineering student switching between a study term and co-op program. In other words, I have to be periodically moving every 4 months to different location. On top of that, my family happens to live in the opposite side of Canada (I'm in Toronto, they're in BC), which makes it virtually impossible to carry the birds when I visit them annually. I'm really worried that frequent moving as well as sending them to pet hotel (or equivalent) may be too stressful for the birds to handle, since the reason why I've lost her is the excessive level of stress. I won't mention the difficulty of accommodating all these without having a car nor any relatives nearby.

Although many other reasons exists (ex: less options for finding housing or jobs, doing a full-time study on top of taming birds, emergency hospitalization fee), I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of myself to accommodate them. A good sense of responsibility is the trait of myself that I trust, and I've been into many changes throughout my life, so adjusting to different lifestyle can also be done.
My parents have been recommending for me to wait until I'm settled with a job, so that I don't have to sacrifice too much, which is true. However, the two weeks that I've been with my cockatiel has proven me that the sacrifice is definately worth the moments I would have with them. The sense of affection and belonging wasn't something what the money could buy, and gave me an excitement to my daily routine that I can expect. From the last decade of my life craving for bird pictures/videos whenever I see a bird (even a goose wandering around the lake), I know that my desire for the bird wouldn't necessarily end if I decide not to adopt one.
While it was a traumatic event to see my cockatiel pass away, it had given me to reconsider my commitment more seriously before having a second chance. I would appreciate any advice regarding the problems. If you believe I should still wait for the later, I would also like to hear. I'll probably start volunteering in the local rescue, probably.


New member
Oct 12, 2010
Rosebreasted Cockatoo, Congo Grey, MRH Amazon, Lovebird
I moved about five years ago after a decade in my old house. I have several parrots and most of them handled the move just fine (honestly, I think my parrotlet and lovebirds enjoyed the new adventure). My Grey did not. Five years later, he's still not completely comfortable with the entire house and gets jumpy if I take him into a room he doesn't see much of. I think it depends on the individual sensitivity of the parrot not so much the species. I've met some Greys that don't seem to be bothered a bit by change.

So, perhaps you could get some really good advice from a breeder on which individual bird might be more adaptable to your lifestyle. You sound like a caring and compassionate person that would give a parrot a wonderful home. So you move. As long as you take your parrot with you, that's the most important thing. Lots of people board their birds (my mom does) with no ill effects. NONE of us has a perfect life to offer a parrot, but we just do the best we can to give them an enriched life. When you care as much as you do about the happiness of your bird, I think you are more than qualified to keep one. I hope you will. Good luck.


Staff member
Super Moderator
Dec 18, 2013
Maya (Female Solomon Island eclectus parrot), Jolly (Male Solomon Island eclectus parrot), Bixby (Male, red-sided eclectus. RIP), Suzie (Male cockatiel. RIP)
I am so sorry for the loss of your baby cockatiel. You sound like a very caring person and I can imagine that hit you pretty hard.

I personally think that you'll make a wonderful parront for a bird... in time. But having to move every 4 months might be a bit much.

It's not that it cannot be done. Given enough socialization, and if you're taking the bird around with you often enough that the prospect of new and unfamiliar sights becomes his/her normal, it could work out. But that depends heavily on the frequency and effectiveness of your training AND on the specific personality of whichever bird you choose. As OOwl mentioned, individual sensitivity comes into play, here.

Since your current circumstances are temporary, my advice would be for you to wait until you're done with your current program. Your love of birds will obviously still be there, and you'll be in a far better and more stable position to take care of your parrot.


Jul 14, 2015
Queens NY
Green Cheek Conure (Mochi)
Gold Capped Conure (Mango)
I can only speak for my own experience, but I wasn't exactly enthusiastic about 'shuttling' first our GCC and now our Gold capped, but it happens pretty often (he gets taken into gf's work, she travels to my work sometimes, and for the last half a year, she was traveling almost nearly nightly) - they survived OK. I think it's worse if a bird gets so settled into one particular *spot* that being moved (as opposed to being rotated between different places) is especially upsetting.


Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
San Antonio, TX
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
I've moved multiple times, including once with 11 birds...

Mine did fine.

I'm not sure that's stressful enough to do it, unless the bird was prone to panic attacks and just didn't calm down.


Supporting Member
Aug 21, 2010
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Deep condolences on the loss of your cockatiel. Every one of us has learned from experience, and you seem to be a great candidate to have parrots in the future.

I have to agree with Mark/Birdman as posted above. My flock has moved twice since acquisition, and in each case they have adjusted well. I'd give credit to the various species involved AND the long span between. Your situation may be more tenuous due to anticipated frequency, but perhaps specific species are more amenable to constant flux.


Jan 12, 2016
USA Nomad
Beau 20 year old male Green Cheek || Jimmy Bullet 17 year old female white cap pionus parrot
I lived in 5 apartments in the span of 2 years with my guys, no adjustment issues. I live in an RV so I travel a lot, and travel without the RV too. Birds always are with me. My pionus used to get carsick and vomit when she was a baby, but grew out of it (took about 2 months). Never any other problems. They both are excited when I get their travel carriers out.

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