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Newly flighted cockatiel safety.

Pickles&Co

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Hello, I have ~six month old cockatiel who was clipped quite young before he came into my possession. He's going through his big boy molt and is at a point where he can fly quite effectively. The problem is he can't fly well and I'm afraid he's going to injured himself. He will simply fly into things and I know long term if things go on like that it's a matter of time before he does serious damage.

Is there any way to help him safely navigate his new found flight? If he simply needs more time are there any helpful hints to keep him safe in the meantime?

I *want* to him to keep his flight as I truly do believe it's important for birds, but I don't want him to injured himself either.
 

Tazlima

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The good news is that since he can't fly well, he also can't fly fast, so if he smacks into something, as long as he breaks the fall, he'll probably be fine.

Of course, you still don't want him to smack into things, so the best thing you can do right now is give him lots of safe places to land. Put up perches and boings. Nets are fantastic to block hard surfaces, cover a large area, and provide perfect footholds for practicing landings. And of course, any mirrors or windows will need to be covered or altered to make them visible somehow(e.g. you can draw on them with soap).
 

Pickles&Co

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The good news is that since he can't fly well, he also can't fly fast, so if he smacks into something, as long as he breaks the fall, he'll probably be fine.

Of course, you still don't want him to smack into things, so the best thing you can do right now is give him lots of safe places to land. Put up perches and boings. Nets are fantastic to block hard surfaces, cover a large area, and provide perfect footholds for practicing landings. And of course, any mirrors or windows will need to be covered or altered to make them visible somehow(e.g. you can draw on them with soap).
He ended up with a small cut next to his cere after hitting a wall today which is where my concern is coming from, he was otherwise fine afterwards and immediately went back to preening/eating/his toys. He is in my living room where he has plenty of safe landing places, but it seems like he's waiting to long to turn and as a result he's hitting walls.
 

Tazlima

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He ended up with a small cut next to his cere after hitting a wall today which is where my concern is coming from, he was otherwise fine afterwards and immediately went back to preening/eating/his toys. He is in my living room where he has plenty of safe landing places, but it seems like he's waiting to long to turn and as a result he's hitting walls.
Ah, yeah. Turning is hard. I have a grey who never learned to fly (she's 14 now), and we've been rehabilitating her for a couple years now. It's been amazing not only watching her improve, but seeing what order she learns things in.

She is now pretty good at brief one-way flights, but turning is something she has only just begun to attempt, and only very rarely.

Definitely sounds like you need some nets or curtains over the hard surfaces until he gets better at those sharp turns.
 

Shezbug

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Try only allowing out of cage time in a smaller room so he can not get up much speed so there is less chance of danger when crashing. You can also pad the floor and add many places up high for him to land to make it easier for him to get his skills up. Its the speed that usually causes the problem with birds who can't yet drive their wings.
 

Pickles&Co

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Thank you both for your suggestions! I definitely have a good starting point now to hopefully have him navigate the learning process more safely. It will be worth it to see him get the chance to become a good flyer.
 

sunnysmom

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It can take a little while for young birds to learn how to navigate and it can be a scary process. Make sure that if you don't already have curtains covering your windows that you put decals on them so your bird doesn't try to fly through them. That's often when birds get hurt the most because they don't reduce their speed. Also, tryi] to give him a couple landing spots. I have a foster tiel right now who is not a good flyer and the biggest issue we have currently is her landings. She tries to land on things that don't work and falls.
 

Free bird

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Hello, I have ~six month old cockatiel who was clipped quite young before he came into my possession. He's going through his big boy molt and is at a point where he can fly quite effectively. The problem is he can't fly well and I'm afraid he's going to injured himself. He will simply fly into things and I know long term if things go on like that it's a matter of time before he does serious damage.

Is there any way to help him safely navigate his new found flight? If he simply needs more time are there any helpful hints to keep him safe in the meantime?

I *want* to him to keep his flight as I truly do believe it's important for birds, but I don't want him to injured himself either.
Don't worry, he will become a great flyer, master of the air. It's in his DNA and of every parakeet, the more developed his feathers are the better he will be so let them grow. And remember that his vision and reflexes are extremely fast so it's chances of crashing hard are very low
I love watching my tiels fly around, sometimes very aggressively seemingly just for the joy of it.

I think windows are it's worse enemy so cover them, have multiple places for him to land and perch, don't change the layout of your place too much as he will develop his own circuit, knowing where things are, and do laps of it that will hopefully delight you as it does me.
Also stay out of his way when his aggressively flying, mine has crashed into me before coming through the door, my fault
 
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Pickles&Co

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Don't worry, he will become a great flyer, master of the air. It's in his DNA and of every parakeet, the more developed his feathers are the better he will be so let them grow. And remember that his vision and reflexes are extremely fast so it's chances of crashing hard are very low
I love watching my tiels fly around, sometimes very aggressively seemingly just for the joy of it.

I think windows are it's worse enemy so cover them, have multiple places for him to land and perch, don't change the layout of your place too much as he will develop his own circuit, knowing where things are, and do laps of it that will hopefully delight you as it does me.
Also stay out of his way when his aggressively flying, mine has crashed into me before coming through the door, my fault
I have always left my birds flighted before and have the same plans for him, just never had one with quite as many crashes! I quite enjoy getting to watch them fly as they should

I also have some good news, he has been doing MUCH better recently and seems to be having an easier time turning as the side of his flights that was a bit shorter still is catching up.
 

Tazlima

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I just wanted to come back to this and say he's doing SO much better. I think he just needed to figure out his steering. He now has a regular path that he will fly for seemingly just the enjoyment of flying. :)
That's great news! It's fun watching them learn the space, too.

Have you ever walked across a jetty or similar, where you're stepping/climbing from rock to rock?

The first few times, you have to be careful with every step, because you don't know which rocks are stable and which ones are wobbly or could break under your weight Maybe some areas are wet and slippery and other spots are dry and have good grip.

If you cross the same rocks every day, though, you learn where to place your feet and can eventually move very quickly and confidently.

That's basically how birds learn to navigate, too. They go slowly at first, and test landing in different places. Definitely a lot of trial and error. Once they know how to get around safely, they're much more confident, and will also tend to stick to those known paths unless they're feeling adventurous and want to try something new.
 
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