Mixed opinions abound; birds are meant to fly so take them outdoors! They are pets and not wild animals so leave them in a cage, indoors! It is only natural, however, that as the weather turns for the better, one would want to take his pet along with him; get outdoors and breathe the fresh air. Be smart about it and understand a few basics, though, and both you and your bird will have a more refreshing experience.
- Birds are meant to fly. Understand birds are meant to fly and there is a real possibility they will do just that. Inspect your pet’s feathers weekly. Keep them trimmed short enough to allow him to glide to the ground should he try to fly, but not so short that he drops alike a rock. It is a fine balance so work on it indoors and only take him outside when you get it right.
- Be alert to hazards. Hazards abound outside; raptors and cars are obvious ones. Be careful of your bird coming in contact with droppings from other birds. Droppings are a major source of disease.
- Protect your bird from mosquitoes. West Nile Virus has now spread pretty much throughout the States. Your bird could become a carrier of the disease so watch for mosquitoes and play it smart. Take him indoors if the mosquitoes are out.
- What to do if your bird flies away. If your bird does escape, place his cage out in the open with the door ajar and a bowl of his favorite food on top. After a day or two on the loose, your bird will be looking for the comfort and security of his cage. Contact your local veterinarians, shelters, and pet shops to let them know your bird is loose and consider posting your bird’s information on a “lost and found” bird website such as www.birdhotline.com.
- Never leave your bird unattended outdoors. Remember to stay with your bird when outdoors. In his clipped state, he is defenseless and is counting on you to protect him.
- Watch the weather. Temperatures over 90oF are difficult conditions for most birds. Watch for distress signs like wing flapping, which likely means your bird is overheating. Stick to shady areas and the risks of overheating will be minimized.
Lastly, play it smart and plan ahead. Do a dry run indoors. Also consider tagging your bird. Leg tags and microchips are simple, easy to use and will save you a lot of time and worry should your bird get free.