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Patricia, Parrot Consultant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1759
Experience:  Published author, free lance bird behaviorist, adviser to the parrots at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
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How do I get my parakeet to fly to me

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I have a three year old parakeet that I just bought off a previous owner and he has always had his wings cliped. Something I strongly disagree with but if I can't get him to come to me when I call him what else can I do?
Hello. How long have you had him? Are his flights fully regrown now or is there still a bit of a trim on them? What kind of flight capability does he have right now? Able to fly well, able to glide while losing altitude or does he pretty much fall straight down? How does he act otherwise, pretty well hand tamed and eager for your attention? Does he try to get away from you or can he be outside the cage and will he allow you to offer your hand or finger and will he step up readily? I'm trying to get a feel for where he is right now so far as being tame and settled in so I know where to tell you to begin. While we are at it, and unless you already have a lot of experience with birds, if you will tell me about his dailey diet, I'll also help you make sure you are feeding him right so he can maintain good health. If he is not eating right, and therefore not feeling as good as he should, attempts to teach him anything will be a waste of your time. Let me know about this extra information and we will start from there. Thanks, Patricia
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Patricia's Post: Dear XXXXX he is begining to readily hop onto our fingers he is much more people friendly than when we first got him and much much more hand friendly. Still bothers him some to have his back and wings touched but he seems really smart to me as he has already learned the difference in how we approach him if we want to pet him vs getting him to step up on our finger. (back of the finger for up and front to pet him. There is still a bit of trim on his wings and no they are not fully regrown but they are growing in FAST and I wanted to get a handle on this before he hurts himself or flys away and won't come back. he can glide while slowly loosing altitude his
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
flights are anywhere from 5-7 feet across the room. He does not try and get away from us anymore except right when we try to get him out of his cage at times and if our three year old son moves too suddenly and spooks him He is eating a mixed food of seeds and fruits that his old owner gave to me but he seems to only eat the seeds and leave the rest. We've had him about two to three weeks. I have no experiance with birds but my husbands parents had two parakeets. Thank you for your time and explicite questions. you seem very thourough and concerned and I appriciate that.
Thank you. That information is very helpful. Since this is not a medical emergency and because I have a lot of information for you and want to be at my most wide awake and fresh, to make sure I don't leave anything out, I'm going to get a detailed answer and "plan of attack" ready for you in the morning. I appreciate your patience. Thanks, Patricia
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thank you for letting me know why I was waiting and I don't mind being patient. My mother said good things are worth waiting for and she also often suggested I "sleep on it" :) lol. sincerly Sarah

Sarah, thanks so much for your patience. Rest assured, had this been a medical emergency, I would have stayed here all night for you and your bird, had you needed me. As for the recall training, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is, it's probably one of the most difficult things anyone ever tries to teach a bird. It's time consuming and no matter what anyone says about it, in the case of an escaped bird, you cannot count on it to do you one iota of good in getting the bird back. A bird might be so good at it that it never fails to come to you, inside the house and from anywhere in the house. The problem is, once that bird escapes to the outside, most of the time, it is the first time that bird has seen the outside, let alone have a clue how to behave in an outdoor situation. Looking at if from their point of view, you can see what a traumatic thing it would be to have spent all your life in the safe confines and familiarity of a home, then to suddenly be "outside" and all that implies. They usually are in such a panic, they fly straight up, land on the highest possible perch, don't recognize one single thing they are seeing and can even be on the verge of shock. A bird who comes to you every time, inside the house, may not even respond to your voice, let alone any kind of request you make. I'm going to give you a link to some suggestions for recall training at the end of this that I hope will be helpful if you decide you want to continue to pursue it. I just want to impress on you that if you do, and even if your bird eventually learns it so well that he never fails to respond properly, do not let it lure you into any kind of false security that it will work if he ever escapes. The only thing you can count on for sure to keep him safe is to insure that he can never, ever escape. The good news is, it sounds like you have a bird who is already very friendly and tame and who you have very little trouble, if any, getting him to step up for you, no matter where he is inside the house. One point I want to make, it's best if you do not reach into his cage to bring him out. That can go against the nature of the most tame, loving bird. That cage is his only safe place, his only refuge and the only thing he can truly call his own. While you do want to be able to reach inside for cleaning, changing toys and perches, etc., when you want him out or want to work with him, it's best to open the door, allow him to come to the door, or to come all the way out, then offer him your finger and go from there. Birds are very intelligent and because of that, it's my opinion that we need to allow them to make some of their own decisions. Allowing them to come out of the cage when they want to is a simple one we can allow without compromising their safety. You also always want to do any training, of any kind, somewhere away from the cage. Having a separate parrot stand or play gym is always a good idea. It's much more neutral territory than where he lives. I'm also going to give you a link to step up training so you can see if it has any extra hints or suggestions that may be helpful to reinforce his step ups. As for the trimming of flight feathers, I tend to agree with you but that doesn't make either of us totally right or totally wrong. Even though my entire flock of 9 is fully flighted, to trim or not to trim, is not something I am comfortable suggesting, one way or the other. I feel it's a very personal decision we all make for our own birds, depending on the safety issues and how secure we feel that we can protect our birds from escaping. There are times when a slight trim can work wonders with a bird needing some taming and with one who needs a little attitude adjustment. For example, one of my flock is a Senegal. They are small birds with a huge ego and attitude. I describe mine as being a Macaw in a midget suit. Even though he is very rarely given even the most minor trim, I've found that when he has one, his whole personality changes, He becomes more sweet and loving, mostly because he is more dependent on me. The goal of a proper wing trim is not to prevent flying anyway. It should only prevent the gaining of altitude. A properly trimmed bird can still fly/glide at least 15-20 feet, gradually losing altitude, staying perfectly balanced and be able to execute a perfect landing, totally in control. Anything less than that is a dangerous case of over clipping and leaves the bird at great risk of serious injury. Anytime a wing trim is done, it should always be done by either a proper Avian vet or a reputable bird groomer. It can be done at home but you must be shown exactly how to do it, including how to recognize blood feathers so you don't cut one, and how to deal instantly with one, should there be an accidental cutting of one. Okay, all that said, I'm still not going to try to tell you what to do. I'm only going to make suggestions and tell you what I would do, if it were my bird. There are so many cute things we can teach our birds to do if we have the time to spend on training exercises, I would much rather do that and not waste my and my bird's time, on recall training. I just don't think the benefits justify the amount of time it can take. If I were in a situation where I felt my bird escaping was a real possibility, (lots of little kids running in and out, careless people coming and going, holding doors open, etc.) I would definitely consider keeping a slight trim on my bird's flight feathers at all times. It's just something you are going to have to decide for yourself and for your bird. In this case, it's not my place to tell you what to do. It's my job to hopefully supply you with all the information you need to make the best decision for your situation. While we are at it, I'm going to also include a lot of links about basic Budgie care, diet and safety issues, including household toxins that I'd like you to read up on if you are not already aware of them. Many folks don't realize that birds cannot live on a heavy seed diet. They must have fruits, veggies, leafy greens and many other foods and they rarely realize how many products they are using in the home that can kill a bird very quickly if exposed. The difficulty is that most of them are things that we never give a thought to because they are harmless to us and most other pets. But, many of them can literally drop a bird dead in it's tracks at first exposure. There will also be links to help you locate your nearest proper Avian vet, in case you don't already have one. I suggest you find him/her and put the information with all your other emergency numbers. The odds are that when a bird needs a vet, it will be an emergency and neither of you will have the time to be searching for one at that point. Okay, I hope you will find this helpful but if you have any further questions, or if you'd like for me to expand on anything, don't hesitate to ask. Best of luck with all of it. Patricia

Click here: Recall Training...Train your parrot to come to you.

Click here: Teaching a Pet Parrot to Step Up

Click here: Hepatic Lipidosis

Click here: PetCareLibrary - Tumors in Parakeets (

Click here: Parakeet Medical and Safety Information

Click here: Parakeet Budgie and Keet FAQs and Info

Click here: Toxic and Safe Plants/Trees for Birds - Household Poisons

Click here: Birdsnways - Safe Plants & Trees for pet birds, pet parrots &exotic birds

Click here: Nutrition

Obesity & Diets (budgies)

Click here: The Basics: Intro to Budgies / Parakeets

Click here: The Budgie and Parakeet Place - Care, Training, Pictures and More


Click here: Find your local Avian Veterinarian

Click here: Avian Veterinarians Recommended by Bird Breeders and Owners

Click here: Avian Vet List

Click here: BirdsnWays - Avian Veterinarians - Vets - Vet Services for Pet Parrots & Exotic Birds

This one looks like an advertisement for Harrison pellets but they are only sold by vets so it's another good list to check. Click here: Harrison's Bird Foods is a family of certified organic pet bird diets that were formulated to make your bird as he

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