I regularly get asked about free flight, i don’t recommend it without extreme care but here are a few tips
The first step in training a bird for free flight training is basic flight training that is conducted indoors.This will build the foundation of trust and response from your bird that is necessary if you ever aspire to let them fly freely. The fact that parrots are intelligent allows them to understand these spoken commands. Among the behavior’s that you want to train your parrot to exhibit in response to spoken words are:
1.Stay or don’t land on me – This is designed to have the bird refrain from landing on you, not to stay totally still.
2.Go off – A command that indicates your bird should get off of you and fly somewhere else.
3.Off there – Use this command to restrict your bird from certain locations where it might be in danger.
4.On here or fly to me – As stated, this command is meant to have the bird fly to you.
These training basics are helpful for having your bird fly indoors and alleviate the need to clip its wings. These are certainly not sufficient to enable you to try free-flying your parrot but are a good start to developing a trust with your bird.
Not all parrots have the skill set required to successfully navigate free flight. While the above flight commands are a start, there are many other factors to be considered before allowing your bird to experience free flight.
The next critical step is known as operant conditioning, which means that each interaction we have with the parrot imparts more information on how they should act in the future. Teaching various behavior’s with positive reinforcement rather than punishment or restarting is a key component of this kind of training. Your bird needs to understand that when it returns to you after a flight it is not immediately stuffed into its cage but rather rewarded with treats and kind words.
Understanding your bird’s body language is crucial if you intend to free fly your parrot. Your bird needs to be comfortable outside and if it appears to be nervous being outside you should not attempt a flight, even if it has flown outside previously. You also need to observe the weather and only let your bird fly when conditions are optimal with no strong winds or storms in the area.
Teaching your bird to return to you from high places can be practised in a home or a warehouse and needs to be ingrained in your parrot before you take it outside to fly. Recall training is one of the most important facets of preparing your bird for free flight.
There are many dangers inherent in free flight that your parrot will not be exposed to in any other situations. Here are some of the issues that your parrot can face when flying free:
Your parrot can be chased and killed by a predatory bird.
Your bird can get scared by something and fly out of sight.
Sudden weather changes can force the bird to stay in a tree overnight.
You are flying your parrot in a new location and it flies off and gets lost.
The freedom that your bird enjoys with free flight must be tempered by the dangers to it and the emotional cost to its owners. Many parrots and parrot owners should not engage in the practice. The bird must be healthy and well-trained to minimize potential problems, but these problems can never be totally eliminated.
You need to ask yourself if you are prepared to experience the loss of a bird that does not return from a free flight. If you do not think you could handle the devastating loss and constant wondering about the whereabouts of your bird if it does not return, then free-flying your parrots is not for you. There is also the question of endangering your bird in an outdoor setting that is not its natural habitat.
Ultimately, free-flying your bird is not a practice to engage in without serious consideration of the risks and benefits to your bird and so should only be taken on with great caution.
an adult bird that is trained to recall to its handler, familiar with its immediate outdoor environment is not at an unacceptable level of risk; that is the belief of dedicated free flight practitioners.