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Hello!
I’ve had my parrotlet Kona for over two months now, I’ve loved bonding and training with her so much!

Her wings were clipped when I got her from the breeder, and now her flight feathers are growing in, and I’m unsure what to do.
I want to let her fly, but am concerned because the entire back side of my house is basically a wall of windows. I live with my parents, and they won’t let me out any decals or tape on the windows, plus many of the windows are too high up to reach. I’ll be moving out sometime in the next year, so I’m debating whether I should wait to let her fly until it’s a safer situation. I’ve read that they can best learn to fly while they’re young, so would rather let her learn now, but I’ve also seen so many horror stories about birds flying into windows and would hate if she got injured.

So I wanted to see if anyone has any tips, experience with training parrotlets not to fly into windows, or ideas about less noticeable ways to bird proof windows.
Thanks!
 

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Let her fly. It is best for her health both physical and mental. Start with a smaller controlled areas. Yes there is risks involved but there is risk in everything. Also they are bright little things. They can figure out windows and mirrors. My guys always loved looking out of windows but had no interest in going out one. If they are on me and I walk too close to window or door with too much opening they fly to safer areas.
 

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Hi! You sound like you are doing a great job with Kona! The flight question is one I think many of us struggle with. You are right to be concerned about that big wall of windows. Realistically, any window poses a threat but that sounds particularly enticing. If you make the call to let her fly, you just have to accept the risk and if something happens, you have to try not to beat yourself up about it. It is like anything in life. You don’t get the benefit of knowing the future. You just have to assess the risks and your ability to mitigate them, then make the decision. I will tell you about my experience with this but that is all it is. Just my experience.

kiwi’s wings were also clipped when I got her and I had them done once more before I made the call to let her be full flight. Before going there, I had a family meeting for some basics to ensure her safety - never when there was any cooking going on (she has never been allowed out of her cage regardless of her flight ability when there’s any cooking or hot surfaces), toilet seats closed at all times, I would call out a signal to everyone when she began flying so that she did not startle anyone (and end up with an involuntary swat) and if she landed and I couldn’t see her, I would call out for everyone to literally freeze until I had eyes on her. Some of the tragedies I have heard of are when people take their eyes off their bird for a moment (when they are not on your body). They’re pretty fast and can run across the floor more quickly than you might expect. When everyone is “frozen”, I am the only one who moves until I find her - usually only seconds - then I give s clear signal if the “all clear”. As a matter of practice, I have always alerted everyone in the house when I am even taking her out of her cage, just for awareness. I will say that I never covered the windows or patio doors and never put up decals. I am not entirely sure why she never went near them. It may be that the look of the outside was a little daunting. They don’t really like change. She has flown off my shoulder into the patio door a couple of times, and she will hit the window and kind off flutter her wings down to the floor. Totally freaked me out every time but she was fine. It was very rare that she did that though. Oh - and if there are any ceiling fans, definitely make sure they’re off.

With those rules and precautions in place, Kiwi was an expert aviator. She was breathtaking to watch as she flew about. For the most part, she preferred to perch on me and use my body as her personal jungle gym, but she would occasionally do a flight path about the house, land somewhere inaccessible without a stepladder and chirp loudly at me - either triumphantly or for me to come and rescue her. It was a bit problematic when I had to administer medication to her though. At the appointed hour, I would take her out of her cage and she would do some wriggly, twisty maneuver and fly to the top of the kitchen cabinets. Sometimes several times. It was actually really funny. Clever bird.

One of our favourite games was hide and seek. I would perch her on the light fixture in the dining room (a favourite spot) then I would go and “hide” by standing in something like the bathroom or a bedroom. I would then call her and I could hear her flying around the house calling me. I would keep calling and she would eventually find me, landing on my head and literally yelling with excitement! She was so good that she could pass by the door a few times looking in, hover for a second at the opening, then fly in into my head. Clever bird!!

It was this little game that saved her when we were away in the country for a weekend and her cage was outside and got knocked over. She flew out and off towards the trees far from the house. I thought it was over but I called and called her and, after a few fly-bys, she landed on my husband’s head and we whisked into the house. We all freaked out that day!!!

When I made the decision to let her be full flight, it was a decision that took into account the risks and with an awareness that I could lose her much earlier than if I clipped her. But for me, I wanted her to be a bird as well as part of my human life, so it was a risk I decided to take. I have been very grateful that she has never had a bad accident and now that she’s a little old lady, she literally can’t fly anymore. She is quite content to hang out in my hair instead but I know she got to be a bird and fly freely. But that is just me. Many parrotlets are clipped and get plenty of exercise and stimulation climbing on their humans and on gyms and in their cages. I know I would have been more comfortable not letting her fly, but my decision was made and I didn’t look back.

Reflecting a little, I think i was always her goal post when she was flying. Perhaps that was why she stayed away from the windows. I would never go near the windows when she was flying, mostly because I knew she would come to me and I didn’t want her to crash. That might be why she never did. Again, she didn’t fly that much - she much preferred me to be her human taxi. She has a sleep cage in a separate room and when I wasn’t responding to her exact bedtime, she would fly off to her cage herself, chirping loudly. But other than that, she was predominantly somewhere on my being.

if you do decide to let Kona be full flight, maybe start in a small room at first and make sure any places he may fall are accessible (like pull the bed away from the wall enough that you can get him if he falls between … or better, put pillows along the bed and wall so he can’t even fall down there - you get the idea). And perhaps if you stay away from the windows, it will keep him closer to the inside of the house.

I hope this helps. It is a scary decision to make because we know how fragile these little stinkers are. I am sure whatever decision you make, Kona will always be a happy, well-loved little bird.
 
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Sorry - I realize I used “him” for some reason at the end of my response rather than “her”. Excuse me Kona!!
 

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I personally think starting off with one room is wise. Windows can be very dangerous to birds if they fly into them. It can cause an injury like a broken beak, or even worse, death. So, you have every reason to be concerned. A lot of people keep their birds in one room for various reasons, and their birds are fine. And like you said, this is just for a year. Just let Kona out as much as you can and give her places throughout the room to fly to. You may want to keep her cage and playstation at opposite sides of the room, so she has to fly back and forth. Recall Training would be good! If you decide at one point to let Kona into the rooms with all the windows, you can try introducing her to the windows. Take her up to the window and tap on it, and if you can, place her gently against the window so she can feel it. Let her get used to it. Would your parents allow you to have window perches? They stick on using suction cups. Some birds really enjoy them, and it teaches your bird that they cannot go any farther. But with you having windows that you cannot reach, this may not work for you. I personally, would not feel comfortable not being able to train my bird about any window or mirror that poses a risk. But that is just me. I tend to be on the cautious side. It is just that they can get hurt so easily. But this is your bird. Trust what your gut tells you!
 

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My bird also came clipped, but as i am a programmer (see: vampire) i never have the shades open anyway. I've decided to let his wings grow since i only rent small apartments plus Chirpy has fallen out of his cage a few times (oh no!) so I'd rather him be able to save himself.

I think it really depends on your living situation combined with your personal feelings.
 
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