What you should know about flying parrots

The fact that birds fly has long been a fascinating mystery.

We now know that a bird's wing actually forms an airfoil. The shape of the wing causes the air to flow faster above the wing than below it. Together, these work to draw and push the bird upward.

Did you know that flight and gliding through the air is not the same thing?

Or, that not all birds fly? Since flight takes so much energy bodily changes, a bird will loose its flight adaptations if it does not need to fly. Birds that live in places that have few or no predators lose their ability to fly.

Initially, birds became fliers to escape predators.  But, flight evolved since it is so useful in the search for food and finding nesting sites.  Birds also fly to locate new habitats or relocate to a better seasonal climate. 

 The anatomy of flight

But, how do birds fly?  Well, flight requires a complex set of feathers; the primaries and the secondary’s. 

The primary feathers are the outer wing feathers on parrots and other lighted birds.  Primary feathers are moved forward and backward in a figure-eight pattern.  This pattern actually acts as a propeller to produce thrust.

It is the secondary feathers that produce lift as the bird's body is pulled through the air.  These are the inner feathers on the wing.  Birds with smaller wings have to fly faster while birds with larger wings need more lift to get their bodies off the ground. 


What is the difference between flight and gliding? 

Gliding is when a bird holds its wings out for long periods of time.  Gliding helps to avoid fatigue.  Flighted birds have a tendon that runs along the back of its ulna wing bone and attaches to the secondary feathers.  Remember, the secondary feathers produce lift.  This interesting tendon assures that a bird's feathers are spread at the proper distance to maintain lift at all times.

Most parrots are prey or food for many other animals so wild parrots are adept at flight. 

A lot of people are afraid that their pet bird will fly off if they don't clip the bird's wing feathers.   But, we are beginning to appreciate how flight can offer our fabulous pets the enrichment that they need to enjoy life.  Flight can also provide our pets much needed exercise.

Flight provides your parrot with a great workout and a stimulating natural experience that contributes to its happiness and decreases common parrot behavior problems. 

You've got to decide if the experience of flight over-rides your personal desires for your parrots safety and it's ability to enjoy the great outdoors

How to keep your flighted bird from flying away

No one want's their precious parrot to fly away, though, so what are your options? But, the fact is that if your bird is flighted, there is a risk of it flying away.

One important skill to teach a flighted bird is to come when called.  It's not a teach and done thing.  You have to practice recall frequently to make it a habit.

Another way to allow your bird to fly, yet minimize the risk of a fly off is to harness train your bird.  

Flying Parrots

I love the Aviator Bird Harness and Flight Line for your parrot. Talk about the ultimate enrichment! While bringing me peace of mind.

Diane Burroughs, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist trained in ABA therapy techniques. She specializes in anxiety disorders and is certified in Nutrition For Mental Health. With over 30 years experience, in a range of settings, she’s created thousands of successful behavior plans to help turn around challenging behavior. Diane got parrot fever in the ‘90’s and founded BirdSupplies.com in 1998.

Nowadays, BirdSupplies.com focuses solely on Science-backed Parrot Wellness with bird collars for feather plucking birds, nutritional supplements to support avian wellness, and a range of educational materials to support bird behavior. Diane’s authored a number of books on supporting challenging behavior in birds.

Hey there! Because of conscientious parrot caretakers like you we are able to continue to offer valuable, science-backed parrot wellness support that will help your feathered friend to thrive so that you can enjoy it for years to come.

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