How to Travel with Your Parrot this Summer
By Diane Burroughs
Now that summer is in full swing, you may be thinking about a road trip. Why not consider travel with your parrot? Traveling with your bird is fun with some careful planning A well socialized bird loves to travel. If your bird is used to taking your bird on day trips in the car it should adapt well to a family vacation and your vacation can be a blast for everyone!
Read on for some car travel tips with your bird.
What to bring:
Think safety and convenience when you travel with your parrot. Pack items in plastic containers for easy storage and access. The biggest issue is going to be to shield your bird from too much sun exposure and heat.
- A Sturdy, Well-ventilated Bird Carrier
- A Bird Carrier Cover to Shield Bird From Sun
- A Bird Harness
- Jugs of Distilled Water
- Mister Bottle to Keep Bird Cool
- Bird Food & Treats
- Bird Toys
- Vet Records & Leg-band or Microchip Numbers
First things first - Practice loading and buckling the bird carrier in the back seat of your vehicle. You may even want to take a spin around the block to make sure that the carrier stays secure in the seat. Never put your bird in the front seat. If the air bags go off your bird may not survive.
Choose your carrier with ventilation in mind. You'll find a huge variety of bird carriers, from the clear Wingabago that lets your bird travel in an upright position to a backpack style bird carrier like the Pak O Bird. Which ever style you choose, make sure that it is well ventilated. Learn about setting up your travel itinerary here.
Next, make sure that your bird is used to car travel. Purchase a bird carrier several weeks before your trip and start taking your bird on fun, short trips. Some birds get car sick, so start out slow. Some people make the mistake of only using a bird carrier for trips to the vet so their bird is anxious in a bird carrier. If you make trips fun, your bird will look forward to getting in it's carrier. Same thing with harness training. We strongly recommend that your bird is harness trained prior to embarking on vacation. You don't want to risk a fly-off.
You may want to pack your bird travel supplies in a plastic tub for easy accessibility. Keep the carrier cover and mister bottle out and handy, as you may need them to keep your bird cool. An over-heated bird looks distressed and pants. Mist your bird down to keep it cool. You'll enjoy the added benefit of less dander in your car, too. You may want to purchase a sun shade for the window to shield your bird from too much sun exposure. Every time you stop, check your bird in it's carrier to see how it is doing and to make sure that it has access to water. Never leave your bird unattended in the car. For one thing, cars heat up to deadly temperatures in the summer heat and for another thing, someone may snatch your precious pet.
Birds are very susceptible to fumes, so when filling up the gas tank, keep the car windows up. Make sure that your hotel room doesn't smell like cleaning fumes, either. You may want to ask the front desk to refrain from using cleaning chemicals during your stay.
When you reach your destination, spend as much time with your bird as possible. Of course, it makes sense that your bird can't take part in all of your activities, but remember that your bird is in unfamiliar surroundings and it's normal routine has been upset. Check out local cafe's that may offer outside seating so you can take your bird along during meals. Trudy's family takes her on trips in her Pak O Bird Carrier.
It might be wise to keep a bird harness on your bird when you're out and about. Even a well socialized bird might get startled in unfamiliar surroundings and attempt to fly off. That's just instinct. A bird harness comes in handy if you want to go on a stroll or a hike and your bird will appreciate out of cage time. If you are new to traveling with your bird, make sure to clip it's wings before you embark on your journey. No one wants their vacation to turn into a recovery effort in an unfamiliar city!
A Pak O Bird lets you carry your bird backpack style. It opens up a world of opportunities at outside cafe's, day hikes and walks, festivals and more.
Let us know what your travel plans are with your bird and how you've planned a trip with your bird in our comments section.
- Diane Burroughs, LCSW