@Kuzey I'm sure your birds benefit from the flying. I do my best to let mine fly — around the house mostly, around the pool area more often. But mine are smaller so that works.Thank you so much everybody! It is a huge relief!!
@finchly this was a huge wake up call for me to re-evaluate my knowledge on free-flight. This was not his fault! I will keep training him but I will have an experienced friend (a mentor) to check my decisions before I put them in action. The reason this happened because I made the mistake of flying him at a level that’s too advance for his flight skills. He did not took of at the first recall. After couple of recalls, I missed the signs that he was too tired and distracted by other birds. He couldn’t come back to us because he was flying high, getting chased by other birds and ran out of energy. Regardless of how he was found, the first 3 days I went to the location, he tried to come back to us multiple times but couldn’t descend while other birds were chasing him. Again, that’s my fault for flying him at that location! If I had flown him at a wide open farm field with no trees or powerlines (which would be a level 1 location), this wouldn’t happen. I have flown him at a level 3 location,(hills and valleys, tall and dense trees, many local birds and distractions). My conures can fly that level and I thought he could too. It’s completely my fault!
I would feel terrible to keep my birds away from flying. I understand people have different views on free-flight and I’m not trying to change anybody’s mind but I won’t quit just because I made a mistake. I will be carefully to not make that mistake again, and if it happens, now I know that my birds can survive on their own while I look for him.
So I will continue the cockatoos’ training in batting cages, until they are further desensitized and their recall is close to perfect!
@Greylady1966 Yes my bird was lucky that someone has found him. I’m thankful for that. Just be to clear, he was not incapacitated, just like a wild birds he was looking for food. After seeing my lost flier, a human approached him, put his hand forward and Money stepped on it. He is trained to do that! In respect to dehydration, this was one of my biggest fear as well but a friend pointed out how much water condensate on leaves every morning. I’m sure he’d figure out how to find the water source too as there are tons of bird feeders and bird baths in the area, plus morning dew would give him the opportunity to drink water off of leaves..
As you pointed out, birds are great social learners, and cockatoos are pretty smart. So I do believe he’d survive on his own longer, not that I want him to get lost and do that but they are built with instincts that would help him survive.
I totally understand those who are against or skeptical about free-flight. Yes it’s risky but in my opinion it’s worth the risks. I don’t see my pets as my property but I see them as my companions. I want to provide them with the opportunities that they would have in the wild. That ranges from free flying to learning how to evade predators. If they don’t encounter a problem, they won’t learn how to solve it! I can not alway keep them protected by keeping them enclosed. There could be times that is not possible. Accidents and disasters happen unexpectedly so I want my birds to have the bare minimum survival skills if that happens and I’m not able to protect them. I’m taking about things like, if someone to break in my house and my birds get out, if there is a fire and I can’t get them all in cages, if I make a mistake and one get out of the house, if there is an earthquake and I cant cage them all up, things like that. Unlike my over-protecting mother which I love to death, I am aware that allowing youngsters to encounter real life risks is essential for their long term survival skills.