The other night I was watching a TV programme about a wildlife rescue centre. A Herring Gull had injured one of its wings and the feathers were all broken so the vet used the imping technique to attach new ones (splints are fitted into the existing feather shafts and new feathers glued in place) He didn't have any Herring Gull feather so he used feathers from another species of gull and these were a different colour. I couldn't help wondering what the Herring Gull thought when it woke from the anaesthetic to find some "alien" feathers on its wing.
Somewhere in another universe, dear brother, you got saved.
We bred and raised cockatiels during my childhood. I remember them being so much lighter bodied while flying. More like macaws. Whereas Greys are so heavy and more like flying tanks. Our cockatiels weren't as maneuverable as Manzi, like they didn't do dives and twists and stuff, but they seemed to fly so effortlessly. I used to free fly Manzi with a macaw. That macaw also just seemed to do a few flaps and easily move. Manzi flaps like crazy and seemed to expend a lot more effort while flying. I had to manage Manzi's weight too.
If he was too heavy, he wouldn't be able to fly much anyway. Too light and he was only focused on treats from me cause he was too hungry.
I remember watching a demo about barn owls and they are the same size as Manzi, but they are half the weight. So they also fly a lot more effortlessly.
That is funny about Chyloe. We watched an indian ringneck and even though that guy was a lot smaller than Manzi and Maui, both were afraid of him when he would fly! Like "oh crap, others can take to the air as well!!?"
My first bird was a cockatiel (Nellie, RIP) and I agree with the flight comparisons. He was so light and made flying look easy. He was also very fast! Ruby is more like a tank as you say, but having said that, she is also pretty fast and amazingly graceful, especially with her high-speed landings on various perches I have around the house. She does an amazing 'flare' at the end to quickly reduce speed and can 'helicopter' quite effectively.
Mitzi can fly but she doesn't fly much, she prefers to hail the taxi service that is my hand to get where she wants to be. If she does fly it is usually just downwards to the floor, she doesn't fly around as such.
Somewhere in another universe, dear brother, you got saved.
Chris, I think greys can be really fast and so agile too. I completely agree. Manzi used to free fly outside and in one terrifying moment, he out maneuvered a peregrine falcon. He did twists, dive rolls, and then quickly dove into a tree. The falcon kept up the first few turns, then couldn't keep up any more and gave up.
I loved watching Manzi do his dives, while screaming/screeching/growling. He had a lot of fun. Even in the house he could land in very tricky places and knew how to tuck his wings in, mid-flight, to get through a half shut door, then he'd re-stretch out his wings and continue along.
Maui wasn't raised flying, so she is not at all agile. She does know how to fly up and down a bit, and how to land safely, and can do a single turn. But she is a slow-moving tank and it takes a lot of energy for her to fly. She's 35 now and has really only been flying the past 4-5 years. Even then, she only flies maybe once per day if she is feeling well.
I love your stories about flight. Some of you may remember that Sid at age 2-3 became very neurotic, and would not even come out of his cage or step up. Due to circumstances I was unable to get him trimmed and his wings grew out and he started to fly. If there was a loud noise that scared him he would circle the room and land back on his cage. He must have built up his confidense. Over time with the flying he outgrew his neurosis. He has been fully flighted over 10 years and is so happy. Of course I am very cautious, but I can't believe he is such a different happy grey.It is great to see him fly from room to room taking the corners like a seasoned pilot.
Wow Adele, that's an amazing story of Manzi outmaneuvering a predator. Must have been scary as all get out!
Susan that's interesting that flying seemed to help Sid overcome his neurosis. I know the decision as to whether to let them fly has plenty of pros and cons but in your experience it seems that letting him fly was absolutely the right move!
Chris, I didn't let Manzi free fly for two weeks after that. But after flying for 1+ hrs outdoors every day, he had way too much energy and completely terrorized my house. Eventually, I let him fly again and luckily we only had that one really close encounter with a bird of prey. One other time, a huge red-tailed hawk went after him, but it didn't stand a chance and unlike the falcon, it just came near, then gave up immediately. That scared me as well, but not as badly.
One guy who was free flying a group of macaws at the time, said a huge hawk came and took one of his macaws. But macaws are large too. He said after the hawk flew off with the macaw, just a minute later, the macaw came back. I imagine the macaw got a nice bite and the hawk realized he was out of his league with a macaw. The macaw was just fine, but learned to be a lot more vigilant about hawks after that.
Every time I go to the bird store I just stare at those macaw beaks in a combination of awe and fear. I don't know what their bite pressure is compared to an AG (which we all fully know the meaning of and it's punishing) but it can't possibly be pleasant. So yea, that hawk probably learned a tough lesson that day!
Honestly never really knew about free flight for parrots. Sorry for the obvious question but, how do you train them such as to have assurances they won't fly away?
They're flock animals, so naturally they want to stay with us. So most cases of parrots flying away are due to lack of experience with flight skills. So they get out, get picked up by the wind, then get lost and have no idea how to get home. So with Manzi, I walked around with him in the park where he free flew for at least an hour per day for a whole year before I was brave enough to let him fly. So I knew he wouldn't get lost since he knew the outdoor area so well.
Then we did serious recall training. So inside, we worked every day, usually in two sessions per day. Then after several months, I used a harness and did recall training outside in the park. Then once we had trained in several skills, such as flying around blind corners, flying up and down at steep angles, flying from tree branches, etc., I took off the harness and tried our luck. The first time flying, Manzi had a really strong recall. He found berries in the first tree, so he gorged himself, and didn't care about my treats, but after an hour, wanted to get back to me. He did panick a bit and called me to come get him. But I couldn't since he was pretty high up. Eventually he got brave enough to try flying down to me. Then we just did that every day. I would let him out, and he would fly around for about an hour or so, then eventually come back to me, ready to just hang out, or go back inside.
I had an ideal location. I was in an apartment complex that was inside a huge park. There were no major roads for at least 1/2 mile in all directions. We did that for several years. Then I moved to MN, where he never got back into free flying. I was worried about the severe weather. Sometimes hail storms would come through with no warning that had hail the size of tennis balls. So if he did get out and had to spend the night outside, I wasn't confident he'd survive. Also, the wind was really strong there, compared with California. Then we moved to Los Angeles where there's a ton busy roads and dogs in backyards. Not sure we'll ever be somewhere that I'll be confident again with free flying him.