Is It Better To Clip Your Parrot’s Wings Or Not?

Black Cockatoo flying left to right
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Window shades or shutters are in place over the tops of the double hung window sashes

No glass tables with sharp corners should be in the room either (or put something on the sharp corners to keep both birds and humans safe)

(I never liked glass tables – its an ex-wife thing.)

The people who decry “I don’t want my bird to fly into a wall”.

Birds can see walls better than you and I.

I always go back to the first time you got behind the wheel of an automobile.

How did that go for you?

Was the experience flawless with proper acceleration and deceleration?

Changing lanes came naturally, right?

Of course not.

The easiest place to start with a flighted bird in your home is teaching where and how to land.

Flying into the side or the front of a birdcage chest first is a bad plan.

Make sure your bird has landing areas on top of its cages which it considers its own.

In our 62 foot long apartment in Chicago we have various landing areas for Peaches.

When teaching Peaches to land, we used the bed in the beginning.

Re: Apparently there is a time window of development at which a bird is able to pick up flight easily and if this is not done at an early age, then flight may be impossible to learn as an older bird.

I’ve had a few birds like this where there is no apparent physical deficit, yet the bird cannot fly nor learn to fly.

Our nine-year-old female Senegal came to us after being told by the veterinarian that she would never fly because she never fledged and spent seven years of her life in a rescue with clipped wings, while in her cage 22 hours a day.

Peaches apparently did not understand she could not fly because after about nine months, the time it took for her flight feathers to grow back in, (birds and rescues are a whole different paradigm than birds in someone’s home) she started to fly, with my gentle urging.

Do we really even know how bird’s wings work?



I always begin by taking the bird and holding it 1 foot away from it’s “home” bird cage then kind of flipping my hand forward it so it knows it’s time to take off.

A bird that leaves your hand will instinctively flap its wings so it doesn’t fall to the ground.

We keep an arched Booda soft rope perch on her cage at home and her bird cage in our travel trailer.

She knows that her returning to her cage on the top perch from anywhere else, she has a safe and comfortable place to land.

Rope perches add additional “gripability”.

At home I spend a lot of time at my desk which is in the middle of the dining room (long story) and she likes to fly to the top of my office chair.

Every week I use “binder clips” to fasten a new black towel over the head rest.

Also published on Medium.


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.