What could be a more remarkable sight than a pretty Macaw in freeflight and her human friend racing down the road!
Imagine a bird companion that can actually do something as awesome as this; a pet that can go out in the world with its owner to flex and have fun.
This incredible antic, a race between bird and scooter riding man, took place about a month ago near Kolimbithres beach in Paros, Greece. The length of the race was about 3 miles (5 km). The goal, into the village for coffee!
First the Blue and Gold Macaw takes the lead, and then it’s neck and neck as the scooter races forward. But in the end, as they traverse the twists and turns, the colorful bird cheerfully squawks “hello” to her friend as she pulls ahead to lead rest of the race. It was not a fast race, as a Blue and Gold Macaw can fly between 27-30 mph, but it was a fun race.
Keeping free flying pet parrots is not a new phenomenon; in fact it has gone on for hundreds of years. Before it became common practice to keep pet birds in cages they usually had free reign on their owner’s property. Today however, it is a more unusual sight, and is simply not a good practice for every owner.
As with all pet keeping situations, there are pros and cons to freeflight that must be considered carefully.
The parrot owner must be very dedicated and the parrots must be trained, as they are not automatically expert flyers. It can take anywhere from a few months of indoor work, to several years, before they are trained and ready for an excursion in the open. There must also be a place for them to fly that is relatively safe from predators and other dangers.
Darren contributed the above photo to Animal-World showing his lovely Red Fronted Macaw, Polo, in freeflight. He says he will free fly Polo indoors and outdoors, but strongly cautions, “This is done only with much training. Do not try this unless you know what you are doing.”
There are a small number of parrot owners that train their birds to fly freely. Most will chaperone their bird’s outdoor excursions, though a few let their birds fly without supervision. Then there are also those whose parrots are allowed a larger “free space.” This is provided by using aviary netting or walking them with a bird harness.
Owners who practice freeflight believe these birds enjoy a happier, healthier life than clipped birds and if flying is handled properly, danger can be avoided. It takes a very close relationship with a bird to train them for freeflight.
Darren’s close relationship with Polo is obvious from his remarks, “Polo is gorgeous, very loveable, and LOVES to lie on his back in my lap and play. He can be a little nippy, but not hard. He is not loud at all and LOVES attention. They are absolutely fantastic birds and a GREAT joy to have. He is AMAZING… ;)”
Ultimately it’s that very close relationship between keepers and their parrots that keeps the birds around!
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Birds can be amazing pets!
Birds are very low maintenance. When keeping them as pets they take up little room, they are great at socializing, they are easily trained, and best of all… a pet bird can be beautiful to look at!
A happy bird will make a happy owner.
If you’re thinking about getting a bird there are a few easy ways to ensure they remain comfortable and healthy.
Here are the 5 must-haves that every pet bird needs:
1 – A Nice Big and Airy Cage
Remember that birds are wild animals. They are used to the freedom of flying around and hunting for food. If you are going to enclose them make sure you invest in a good cage, which is the appropriate size for your bird.
Put the cage in an area out of direct sunlight but where your pet bird can see action, nature, and other living things. Although they are great socializers and will thrive on human contact, high traffic areas may be stressful for them, so keep them out of the traffic corridor.
2 – Plenty of Toys
It’s very important that your bird is entertained. Remember, they have nowhere to go so need to be stimulated throughout the day, especially when you’re not there to talk to them. If they get too bored they can develop behavioral problems such as screaming, plucking their feathers, and biting. Essential toys a bird should have are:
- Foraging Toys: These allow your bird to work for their food like they would in the wild.
- Chewing Toys: Chewing is a major part of a wild bird’s life and it is essential they can do this while caged.
- Preening Toys: Preening toys such as rope will satisfy your bird’s needs and stop them plucking their own feathers.
3 – Exercise Equipment
Birds are animals that exercise a lot in the wild so exercise equipment inside their cage will keep them happy and entertained throughout the day. Swinging perches and ladders will not only instigate movement, they are very important for foot and muscle health. Perches that look like natural branches are the best choices, but be sure to get the correct thickness for your bird. Ladders and net climbing obstacles will be great for your pet birds play time and discovery. Also check on the latest innovation that could help your pet. It shouldn’t hurt to try new exercise thingies especially if they look promising.
4 – A Cozy Retreat
Make sure there is a nice place to go so that your bird can find solitude as they would in the wild. This is easily achieved with a bit of fabric on one corner. At nighttime, it’s always a good idea to cover the cage entirely to convey comfort and sleep time. You can also add a small birdhouse inside so the pet can go there anytime it feels like it.
5 – House Keeping
A clean bird cage is essential for your bird’s health and happiness. It’s an easy job to do and made even easier with pre cut cage liners. Changed daily, you will avoid unpleasant smells and bacteria on your cage floor. There are also non-toxic sprays which dissolve droppings, and remove stains and marks from your cage. A good example of this is Poop-Off. Also learn how frequently cleaning should be. The cage doesn’t have to be squeaky clean, because hay and some newspaper trimmings inside can create a nice forest-like atmosphere. But it will be helpful if wastes are removed from time to time.
Melianie Cho of Real Smart, works with pet care and has been working in a pet store for several years, where she advises customers on the best products for their pets. She is also a regular contributor in pet forums and blogs.
“What could be a more excellent pet than a splendid little fellow like me. Friendly, brains and color all in one… I dance, perform, and talk up a storm!”
The Senegal Parrot is a small parrot, but has a big bird personality!
The Senegal Parrot Poicephalus senegalus, are also called the Yellow-vented Parrot, is a delightful small parrot and can be easily trained. They are known for their mischievousness and acrobatics! They adapt quickly and easily to new environments and will become your companion quickly, wanting to cuddle as soon as they get used to you! People who own a Senegal Parrot often say they are great companions and are a source of amusement.
Senegal Parrots love to have routines in their lives and definitely get to know their owners habits. They need interaction with their owners so make sure you spend at least an hour a day with your parrot because they need social interaction, even if that just means holding him/her while you are watching TV. Senegal Parrots are known for becoming very attached to their human companion and can become jealous of other people when they come around. If there are several people who live in a new Senegal Parrots home, make sure to socialize the bird with all members of the household to avoid too much possessiveness on the part of the Senegal… Read More
“Keeping a pet bird means good bird care! This bird care basics guide includes everything you need to know from bird cages, food and supplies to health care, exercise and safety!”
To have a great pet bird, it must begin with the best bird care!
Many different types of pet birds are available and they can all make amazing pets if given the best of care. Most birds are social creatures and need and love close contact with their owners. Some other birds just love talking and singing which can give you feelings of having a friend there. The largest birds, parrots often become very close friends, loving to nap, sometimes shower, and eat with you! Most just love interaction of any kind.
Taking on a bird as a pet does take some work and dedication as well as some common sense. All birds have the same needs as far as bird care basics are concerned. For instance, every bird needs a cage that is tailored to their size and includes perches, bird feeders with the appropriate food, and fresh water… Read More
Choosing A Pet Bird
“What kind of pets are birds? Find out right here… facts about living with birds and finding the right pet bird for you!”
Ever wonder what type of bird would be perfect for you? Here is a guide to finding out!
Birds are often great pets for people looking for a companion with a wonderful personality. They also come in many beautiful colors and many can live a very long life! By choosing a pet bird, you bring into your life a social creature who loves you, talks to you, and can even sing you a song! They can make the perfect pet for many people! Read more
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Umbrella Cockatoo!
When I first started working at a pet store, they had an Umbrella Cockatoo, Cacatua alba named “Pierre.” He was the most loving and affectionate bird I have ever known – still to this day I have not met another bird like him. I believe he recognized me over time because eventually every time I would walk up to him he would start dancing and talking and displaying his head feathers. He would always come up on my hand and seemed to really look forward to me petting him. He was sold at some point in time and I really did miss him.
Cockatoos in general are known to make great pets. They are almost all loving and friendly birds, however they need to be given a lot of attention and “one-on-one” time. If you plan to purchase an Umbrella Cockatoo, then you MUST be prepared and willing to spend a great deal of time as their companion. They are very social, can learn to talk, and be taught to do all sorts of tricks. Many people provide play areas outside of their cage where the cockatoo can spend most of the day. They love this and it provides them with a a feeling of being part of the family and a feeling of freedom. In fact, if they are caged too often and/or not given adequate attention, they can turn into screamers. Generally this behavior starts because they feel lonely and neglected. However, screaming can be abated by most often by simply dedicating time and energy into being with your bird and making sure it feels comfortable in its daily surroundings.
Umbrella Cockatoos are one of the largest cockatoos, being all white with a crest of feathers on their heads. When these feathers are raised, it looks like an umbrella – hence the origin of their name! In the wild, they are found in central and northern Moluccas, Indonesia and Obi, Halmahera, Ternate, and Tidore. They can reach a foot in length when they are full-grown adults and this dictates the need for a fairly large cage.
The two main behavioral problems that come up frequently with cockatoos are their screeching habits (mentioned earlier) and the fact that they are prone to chewing their own feathers. They can become quite bald if this is allowed to go on. In order to prevent this you will need to give them plenty of daily attention and make sure they are let out of their cage for good periods of time. They do love to chew to keep their beaks in shape, so also provide them with plenty of chew toys.
Proper care, feeding, and housing is a must for these large birds. They should be provided with clean fresh water daily to make sure they don’t become sick. Fresh food including some fresh fruits and vegetables as well as a large hookbill seed mix should also be provided daily. They can often eat other foods that you may have around the house occasionally, such as cheese, eggs, and canned dog food. If kept alone, these cockatoos should be preened occasionally by their owners to help clear out feather sheaths. You should also probably keep their wings trimmed so that they cannot fly far and accidentally escape out through an open door or window. Their beaks and nails will continually grow as well, so these should be trimmed periodically if they are becoming too long.
Umbrella Cockatoos are considered wonderful pets in the bird world if you have the time to dedicate to them! If you would like to learn more about these particular cockatoos, check out Animal-World’s page on Umbrella Cockatoos!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
"If you give me lots of love, I guarantee I will love you back!"
Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are great talkers, love to learn tricks, and require
tons of attention, but they make awesome and loving companions!
The Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo comes originally from Australia and was first brought to other areas by Captain Cook – the famous explorer – in 1790. They are very well-known birds and can live very long lives if taken care of properly. One bird has been documented to have lived to 120 years old! Read More
"Though I am quite beautiful, I prefer to be kept by myself!"
These are fine birds to enjoy for their antics and the splendid breeding plumage of the male.
The Pintail Whydah is one of the most common forms of Whydah available.
“Whydah” is the name of a town in Nigeria where these birds are common. Pintail Whydahs are also called “Widow Birds” due to the long tail the male has during the breeding season. During this time It is twice the length of his body and often black. In the wild, when the males are not in their wonderful breeding plumage, they are surprisingly inconspicuous… Read More