There appears to be some controversy in the avian community about letting a bird fly or clipping it’s wings. Unfortunately there is no right or wrong answer. I personally believe in clipping even though I have a bird that can fly. The sole reason I have left his wings alone is curiosity. You see he is a Red Fronted Macaw and they are able to turn on a heart beat and to hover. Unfortunately, I waited to long before I made that decision and he doesn’t know he can fly. Giving him the tool he needs to fly though puts a huge limitation on him, and that is he can no longer go outside. I have heard too many horror stories of people thinking their bird can’t fly and taking them outside. The bird gets spooked by something and away they go.
Sunshine is extremely important to a bird and a general requirement is 20 minutes per day. The light that comes in through our windows does not have the UV rays which is exactly where all the benefits of the sun come into play. Plopping them in front of a window is good stimulation but has absolutely no health benefit for them. To match the suns benefits they would need a bird lamp with an ultraviolet bulb left on for 12 hours a day. Imagine 12 hours of a lamp equals 20 minutes of sun. A fact I find mind boggling!
Okay, I get chatty and can be here all day, so I will cut to the chase. Leaving a bird flighted poses more than one problem and challenge. The problems I see are plentiful. A bird can get easily spooked and fly into the window, wall or ceiling fan and get hurt. Furthermore, if a bird is out and the door opens, it is easy for them to fly away. Trust me I have heard that numerous times. The lucky bird might find a new home if it is smart enough or hungry enough to land on someone. The majority of them though get attacked by hawks, and simply don’t make it. Once in awhile I will hear a story about a bird showing up at a wild bird feeder but that is extremely rare. They have been trained to have their food brought to them and that is all they know. The ones that do find a new home are the lucky ones. Good for the bird, bad for the old owner. I have been in business 17 years and have rarely found someone willing to find the owner, even after explaining the bond that could exist between them. Unfortunately, at lot of people want to know how much the bird costs and rub their hands in glee. I even had one customer forced into paying a return fee to get her bird back!
The last thing of issue here is dominance. A bird that can fly can get picky about having things there own way and bite the owner. We wind up clipping a lot of wings for that very reason.
I have heard the argument that birds are meant too have wings as they do in the wild. I really can’t argue the point except to say they are in our homes and not the wild. The only other argument I have heard in which I totally agree is that it is good exercise. It is good exercise, and builds confidence. All really important good stuff. The only way around that is to help them exercise. I have turned that into a game with my birds. I will put a thumb over their feet and flap my arms up and down. The simple act of doing that makes them flap their wings. I will run around the house doing that screaming “let’s fly”. We have great bonding time together and get exercise while doing so. Now I can just hold them and say let’s fly, and away they go. I always praise reward them and they feel great afterwards.
Okay, I have finally run out of words to say here. Please keep in mind this is only my opinion based on what I have read and heard from customers. If anyone has a different slant on this I would love to hear it. Post it on our Facebook page and let’s have a discussion about it. In the meantime, I wish you all a great day.