Of the five parrots I currently have, I have only experienced travel with two: the cockatiels. Linus, my umbrella cockatoo, has had some fairly extensive travel experience from when he lived with Dave and Jamie. I have the expectation that Libby, my quaker, will do just fine. She is one of those rare birds that just rolls through life, never letting too much get in the way of her fun.
The cockatiels, though confident enough to handle the changes, are old. Theo, my goffins cockatoo, is a concern. She has no travel experience at all and fears unfamiliar things. She also sometimes becomes mysteriously afraid of things which are familiar to her. I came home from work one night to hear her screaming. Upon investigation, I found the source of her terror to be a set of hand crafted little wooden dogs that my daughter brought back with her from a trip to Mexico.
These little animals had been in the same location since long before Theo came to live with me. I am sure they stayed inanimate while I was at work that day. I put the wooden dogs in the closet and she settled down, but kept a watchful eye on the closet door in case they tried to escape. I never know what she might decide is unacceptable. This will be an interesting adventure for both of us.
Finding the right perches for the ride is probably the biggest problem I am facing. I need to provide soft rope perches for both the cockatiels and for Theo. Following an injury, one of my cockatiels has three toes forward and one back on one foot and he lacks a good grip with that foot.
Theo has had problems with pressure sores on her feet and needs the comfort of a soft perch for the trip. Normally, that would be no problem, but Theo is terrified of rope perches or perches covered in vet tape.
I have been trying to slowly adapt her to accepting a comfy perch for months, but she’ll have no part of them. So this is where we are with her: the rope swing in her cage is okay, rope perches are evil. Wooden perches are wonderful, little wooden dogs, not so much. I never thought I’d be saying this, but it looks like Linus, the diva, might be the easiest of the bunch to move.
Libby, if she will tolerate the drive being surrounded by large, unknown birds, will be a close runner-up. I have written in previous posts about the importance of change in your everyday routine to keep your parrots adaptable for just this type of situation. Hopefully, we’re prepared.
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.