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Some Outdoor Dangers for Birds

McLaughlane

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:hehe: On a funny note... ever seen my bird Maui?

View attachment 125422

Even this IMO wears a harness :hehe:

BooBoo chews her wings like this, so we used to take her out without a harness. :o: My husband still wants to take her out harness-less (because we're still miles away from her wearing the aviator we have for her), and every time he's like "I want to go on a walk with BooBoo," I'm like "NOOOOO! D:"

I just don't want anything to happen. :(

I almost lost my blue naped mousebird Gryphon to a hawk, many of you remember. He flew to the back of a big loose shirt I had on, and I did not feel him there. I went right out the door to the carport from the birdroom right next to it, to throw away the trash bag I had. I lifted the trashcan lid, it startled him and away he flew around to the back of the house. He was 'playing' in a huge live oak in my backyard. I called my DH to help, and he came home from work. But Gryphon just went higher up to the canopy of this tree.

I spent hours outside with food calling him. He never really left, but would not come down. Then I saw a bird being chased through the trees towards the street out front. It was Gryphon being chased by a hawk!:eek: I ran screaming and the hawk took off. But there was no Gryphon to be found. When I had looked away to run, I thought he must have flown away with him in his talons. I looked and looked at my neighbor's across the street. I went back several times. Judy{greycloud} was on and off the phone with me several times through this whole ordeal. AA's members were praying for his safe return.
Then when I was sure the hawk must have flown off with him, Judy encouraged me to look again. There he was, silent and hiding under a bush. I snatched him up and ran home with him close to my chest and cried my eyes out! I NEVER want to go through something like that again, and have taken a lot more precautions to ensure it never does. My birdroom now has a screen door on it, and I always check and double check where everyone is when the door is opened.
OMG, how scary. :( Manfred was briefly flighted, but we had a very near miss where he almost flew out the door, and that basically put an end to that. I would like to let his flights grow in again someday, but in a one-bedroom apartment where our birds live in our living room, it's not really plausible. His cage is less than 5 feet away from our front door. Someday, when we have a bird room, hopefully we will be able to have him fly again, but like you, we are probably going to keep a screen door on it.

When Manfred almost got out, he was running around on the top of his cage (as he does), and my husband forgot he was there, and ducked out onto the balcony to put some plastic bottles in our recycling bag (because our complex doesn't have a recycle bin for some reason). Manfred hates it when people leave the room and 'ditch' him, so he took off after DH, who was halfway past the screen door. I shouted "SHUT THE DOOR RIGHT NOW!" and DH spun around, caught Manfred in midair and slammed the screen door shut, then handed him back to me. :faint:

Maybe naming him after the Red Baron wasn't the best idea we've ever had!
 

Feather

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I just want to add that carriers will do no good keeping the bird from flying away if they are not SECURE.
I lost my cockatiel, Tekay, when something startled her while she was in her carrier. Up until that point, I thought the carrier would keep her safe. But she thrashed against the door so hard that it popped open and just like that she was gone.
I was heartbroken, and furious with myself.
I never saw her again, but she was one of the lucky ones. Two years later I met the woman who had found Tekay. She'd let someone else adopt my bird, and wasn't able to get her back, but knowing she was safe was a blessing.
 

Doodle Bird

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That cockatoo video made me get a huge lump in my throat. It has a good ending, but that poor bird's scared screeches make me tear up.
 

roxynoodle

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Last summer I walked out my back door just as a hawk landed on the back of the fairly large ground hog that was living under my shed. It wasn't exactly afraid of me, standing there 10 feet from it. I got a very good look at the talons and they are enormous. Well, that hawk flew off with that ground hog, that was 3x it's size and probably much heavier.

At any given time if I look around I will see one circling a field.

Please don't forget the danger of West Nile Virus if you live in an area where it's present. West Nile is fatal to birds. So your bird might be in a cage or carrier, but can be bitten by a mosquito carrying it.

Also please be sure cages and carriers are secure. I heard one story of the plastic bottom falling off a cage that the bird's owner was carrying outside. It wouldn't hurt to drill some holes and run cable ties for extra security when taking your birds out.
 

roxynoodle

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I also want to add that cages outside with large bar spacing can still allow a hawk to attack your bird in it's cage. I read a story like that a few months ago. If they can get talons or beaks in, they will:(
 

faeryphoebe1

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I just started taking Sunny, my sun conure on walks with his new aviator harness. I live in San Antonio. While it's quite urban, I still see hawks frequently.

Does anyone have any tips for being as safe as possible about this? Sunny rides on my shoulder and I am vigilant about keeping a look out for feral cats. I try to keep an eye on the sky but I'm still terrified about not spotting a bird of prey until it's too late.

Of course I realize that no walk outside will ever be without risk, but do you guys have any particular things you do to try to keep your fids safe from birds of prey while taking your parrots out on a harness? I'm just so scared of losing my baby.
:confused:
 
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jmfleish

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I just wanted to mention that the video of the hawk attacking the human and the Cockatoo who were doing the show was a hawk that was accidentally let out while being fed, so he was a hungry hawk!:) I just wanted to post some information that Janet Jeanpierre had posted on one of my chicken forums about flying her parrots free that I found fascinating. Let me say first that I do not encourage free flight to most people and want to say that it takes a great deal of skill and training to do but I thought that the information that Janet had, as someone who has free flown for at least a decade now and worked with others who free fly and people who are experts on hawks as information that is important to note. I have permission from Janet to share this. I also want to note that her birds are bigger! A Scarlet Macaw and a Red Fronted Macaw!:)
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Many hawks that are a real threat to chickens pose almost no threat to a macaw. For example, a Red Tailed hawk is no threat to my parrots, even my small ones because they are so slow and not very agile in the air. They won't even try to catch a bird in the air. Their primary food source will be ground animals, not birds.

I've flown parrots outside for over a decade--hawks are not the risk to parrots that they are to defenseless chickens.

I've had many chases by various birds of prey and even vultures. Most chases are territorial in nature or just plain curiosity.

Not all hawks can take a bird in flight. The Accipiters are the biggest threat, but it has to be one that is big enough to tackle a bird the size of a macaw. That means only a very big female Coopers or a Northern Goshawk (which is very rare). A big falcon (again a rare bird) might tackle a macaw but unlikely. They certainly will chase. The other hawks that are so dangerous to chickens, such as the Buteo family (Red Tailed Hawk, etc.), are not fast enough or agile enough to take down a bird in the air.

I once watched a Peregrine falcon try to catch a small bird. The little bird had no cover at all, out in the open about 50 feet up. The Peregrine swooped in, the bird dodged and the Peregrine overshot, turned and swooped in again. This went on for a long, long time before the Peregrine finally gave up and flew over the hill.

I've had many a conversation about attacks on my parrots with a dear friend who is not only an avian vet, but a falcon expert. He runs a conservation center in Abu Dhabi. He regularly goes on hunting trips around the world with falcons. If anyone is an expert on birds becoming prey, it is Jaime.

When evaluating risk to a flying parrot, you have to look at just what could get actually take it down, or what would want to tackle a parrot on the ground. My friend Jaime believes that a macaw's massive beak will be a deterrent and any chases I've experienced have been just instinctual chases and curiosity chases or territorial in nature. He sees this instinctual/curiosity chase regularly when on hunting expeditions. A large falcon will be chasing their prey, but another hawk will be following along.

There are not very many birds that are large enough to take down a big macaw even if they could catch it. A large Coopers female is the bird I fear the most in my area since a really big one would be similar in size to the macaw and is an ambush predator with a short burst of speed plus superb maneuverability amongst the trees, so they could out fly my macaw for short bursts through the trees. Also, starving juveniles are always a threat because they are so desperate. Owls are another threat, but not leaving birds loose near dusk will largely avoid that risk.

And, yes, a pet macaw could stay outside all day sounding the alarm. I know people who leave their parrots out. I can't risk it because they might land on another flight and end up biting the toes and feet of the other birds in the other aviary. Or they might decide to tear my house apart.

Between the peacocks next door and my own caged macaws, they do alert quite often. I just hope the chickens understand the alarm calls of the peacocks and the macaws. It didn't take my macaws long to understand the alarm calls of the peacock, so I can only hope the chickens will pick it up as well.

Janet
 

Holiday

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Jen, it doesn't hurt to get a different perspective, but a lot of it differs from my own experience. I've seen both Red-tailed and Cooper's hawks take prey in the air and off a perch (cardinals and doves near my bird feeder), and I totally disagree that a mac beak would be a deterrent since they'd not have a chance to bring it to bear even if they were bold enough to do so (which is highly unlikely). Hawks are very fast, and more than capable of dealing with prey larger than themselves. And, that doesn't even take into account the unbelievable blind panic and stress that some macaws feel when they barely see a hawk (Elvis throws herself into a headlong terrified rush--it's instinctive). And Zoe can't even defend herself against Keene, much less a hawk :p I don't think a lot of people realize how sweet and clueless macaws are. Just because they have big beaks does not mean they know how to use them to defend themselves. Also, I have no idea why macaws wouldn't be on the ground or a perch outdoors. RFMs especially are very much inclined to land and waddle on the ground (it's a natural behavior for them in their habitat, and a lot of them have been shot for eating crops on the ground in Bolivia. They're sitting ducks when this happens), and again, they are about the size of a small bantam chicken breed. They are a prey species, and they're not inclined to fight with a diving raptor. The thought that poor little Elvissa would take on a Red-tail is, well, about as likely as her taking on a speeding car. She's completely and utterly terrified of them, even when they're separated from her by thick window glass. Wish I had a dollar for every time a mere glimpse has sent her rushing to the other side of the house. This post by your friend Janet reminds me of what Benjamin Franklin said, "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do." People who want to fly their birds outside usually have a lot of reasons why it's fine for them to do so, and depending on the area there may be more or less danger. My area, though, is awash in hawks. And, I've seen many, many of them doing their thing over the course of my life. They are amazingly cool and versatile creatures. One of the most crazy cool sights I've ever seen is a Red Tail flying right over my head with a copperhead snake in its talons, the evening sun gleaming off that coppery head like a jewel. Beautiful. :) But, I'm not going to be tempting fate with either one any time soon.
 

jmfleish

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Jen, it doesn't hurt to get a different perspective, but a lot of it differs from my own experience. I've seen both Red-tailed and Cooper's hawks take prey in the air and off a perch (cardinals and doves near my bird feeder), and I totally disagree that a mac beak would be a deterrent since they'd not have a chance to bring it to bear even if they were bold enough to do so (which is highly unlikely). Hawks are very fast, and more than capable of dealing with prey larger than themselves. And, that doesn't even take into account the unbelievable blind panic and stress that some macaws feel when they barely see a hawk (Elvis throws herself into a headlong terrified rush--it's instinctive). And Zoe can't even defend herself against Keene, much less a hawk :p I don't think a lot of people realize how sweet and clueless macaws are. Just because they have big beaks does not mean they know how to use them to defend themselves. Also, I have no idea why macaws wouldn't be on the ground or a perch outdoors. RFMs especially are very much inclined to land and waddle on the ground (it's a natural behavior for them in their habitat, and a lot of them have been shot for eating crops on the ground in Bolivia. They're sitting ducks when this happens), and again, they are about the size of a small bantam chicken breed. They are a prey species, and they're not inclined to fight with a diving raptor. The thought that poor little Elvissa would take on a Red-tail is, well, about as likely as her taking on a speeding car. She's completely and utterly terrified of them, even when they're separated from her by thick window glass. Wish I had a dollar for every time a mere glimpse has sent her rushing to the other side of the house. This post by your friend Janet reminds me of what Benjamin Franklin said, "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do." People who want to fly their birds outside usually have a lot of reasons why it's fine for them to do so, and depending on the area there may be more or less danger. My area, though, is awash in hawks. And, I've seen many, many of them doing their thing over the course of my life. They are amazingly cool and versatile creatures. One of the most crazy cool sights I've ever seen is a Red Tail flying right over my head with a copperhead snake in its talons, the evening sun gleaming off that coppery head like a jewel. Beautiful. :) But, I'm not going to be tempting fate with either one any time soon.
Well, I'm just giving you first hand information from someone who does free fly and has been doing it for a decade or more and works with others who free fly as well as with people who work with hawks and with professionals such as Steve Martain. Janet has actually trained with Steve Martain. I found it all very interesting and thought I would share that first hand knowledge.
 

waterfaller1

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I do know if the macaws, toos, are in a flock the hawk won't even entertain the idea, unless they are young. The reason is the hawk won't chance injury. The birds at the sanctuary lived outside in the trees for years, until they themselves became a nuisance. They were taking apart the house, and cars/vehicles. You would look up in a tree and see your windshield wiper in someone's beak. They also stripped all the rubber from around a windshield off a van, and the whole windshield fell in.:D
 

jmfleish

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I do know if the macaws, toos, are in a flock the hawk won't even entertain the idea, unless they are young. The reason is the hawk won't chance injury. The birds at the sanctuary lived outside in the trees for years, until they themselves became a nuisance. They were taking apart the house, and cars/vehicles. You would look up in a tree and see your windshield wiper in someone's beak. They also stripped all the rubber from around a windshield off a van, and the whole windshield fell in.:D
Yes, there is also going to be safety in numbers! I find it interesting that ground preditors were never really talked about, or maybe I missed it. Racoons are a big problem for aviary birds as are rats and snakes...
 

waterfaller1

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True, Keri has more problem with raccoons and skunks of all things. She does feed the hawks just to keep them happy, and so none of them get any designs on her chickens. A panther got in and made a mess of some huge chickens she had, {Brahmas?} They blinded them and worse. The panther also made off with the younger of two goats, but left it hung on the fence. Now she found homes for the farm animals, except the chickens. It was just drawing in more predators. Raccoons are a daily struggle.
 

Holiday

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Well, I'm just giving you first hand information from someone who does free fly and has been doing it for a decade or more and works with others who free fly as well as with people who work with hawks and with professionals such as Steve Martain. Janet has actually trained with Steve Martain. I found it all very interesting and thought I would share that first hand knowledge.
Yes, I understand :) I love to see pictures and videos of macaws free-flying in low predator areas. It's awe-inspiring, but I guarantee you that if I walk out my door right now, I have a pretty good chance of seeing a hawk somewhere nearby. Different areas vary.

And, the experience I shared was first-hand too. :) And, I'm certainly not going to take Zoe outside without a harness and test my theories to prove my point. :p
 

waterfaller1

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Another interesting thing I saw recently about birds and predators~
There was a documentary about an island where herons nested every year. But this particular time the nests were empty as they flew over and surveyed the island. So it was this man's job{wildlife officer} to find out why. They took boats and equipment out to the island to document their findings. They found busted eggs, missing chicks, and even adults that had been slaughtered. Who was doing this? Well they speculated..possibly owls, gulls, or there was one more I cannot remember. They found a couple nests still occupied by herons and set up cameras. To their shock it turned out to be raccoons. They had never documented raccoons swimming that far across water. On top of that they concluded by the videos most of the birds were just being killed, not eaten. So they set about putting up metal flashing around the nesting trees. Within three years the numbers were back up on the nesting birds. The flashing kept the 'coons from climbing the trees. It was a really fascinating show.
For outdoor kept aviary birds, the raccoons pose a very serious threat. The females will even engage their young to help as they work as a group. She will get her babies to flush the birds over to her waiting arms, then she pulls them through the bars.
 
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faeryphoebe1

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So aside from getting a Pak O Bird or taking Sunny out in a cage (neither of which I really want to do, plus a Pak O Bird is WAY too expensive for me), are there other things that I can do to try to keep Sunny safe as safe as possible from hawks when he's in his aviator?

Stay under trees as much as possible? Listen for any particular odd pattern of calls from the wild prey birds outside? Or if they're suddenly quiet, look up for possible danger? His flight feathers are growing (breeder clipped them) so he rides on my shoulder. ;)
 
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jmfleish

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Yes, I understand :) I love to see pictures and videos of macaws free-flying in low predator areas. It's awe-inspiring, but I guarantee you that if I walk out my door right now, I have a pretty good chance of seeing a hawk somewhere nearby. Different areas vary.

And, the experience I shared was first-hand too. :) And, I'm certainly not going to take Zoe outside without a harness and test my theories to prove my point. :p
I'm absolutely not suggesting that you do. I would hope that no one on this board would! Free flying is a totally different world. A harness should do the trick though. And to just be aware of hawks with the smaller birds should be enough. I would be careful around dusk and dawn as well...that's when they are most active.
 

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Wow..this just in from my friend~
Some macaws were inadvertently let out by someone helping 6 days ago. All were caught and returned except one B&G who remains out. She is 60' up in slash pines. My friend just posted this a few hours ago, as someone suggested playing a video with a hawk calling, and another person said NO that will scare her!!
This was my friend's reply~
my hawks sit by their side not hunting them & they are not afraid of them .the big female red shouldered hawk sat on the branch with k-la & got bored & flew away k-la never flinched she was inches away on the same branch.
{K-La was caught a couple days ago, the bird that is still out is named Louie}
 
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