Photo by David Location: Orlando, FL Shown: Blue throated macaw "Jinx", African Grey "Cressi", Military macaw "Cash", Galah "Bondi"
This post is for Elliott, as he asked me about how to train his bird indoors (flight recall) without having to worry about windows. Many owners are scared to let their birds keep their long wings for flight, because of the nerves that they could hit windows and break their necks or hurt themselves in general.
So the basic answer to this? Let your bird fly, they're meant to and it's vital to their health. Just introduce your parrot to windows.
Photo by David Location: Orlando, FL Shown: Too many too name... hehe...
See the window in the picture above? Well, more like those two double doors with windows ALL over them? They are what I used to introduce my flock mates to windows so they wouldn't run into them. Birds think they can go through glass, so unless you show them otherwise, they are going to make the mistake of hitting one and it could be nothing or it could be fatal.
So find a window that's low to the floor, it makes it easier on you and your bird. Locate your window.
Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Orlando, FL Shown: Blue throated macaw "Jinx" and galahs "Bondi" and "Bandit"
Put it to use and make the introductions. Hold your bird on your hand, or set him/her on the floor. Here's how I did it...
I opened the door and put the bird on one side, and I put myself on the other. I then tried to encourage my bird to come over to me (using your great self since he/she likes you so much) OR use treats. I did this so it would WALK, not run or fly, over to the door and try to go through it. My bird would go head first and tap the window with its beak. It would then feel right and left, up and down, trying to find out where the window stopped. Then eventually the bird would figure out how to go around the door/window and get to me that way. Sometimes, I would put my hand there to show them the way.
I did this over and over until the bird skipped trying to make it through the window and went straight to going around. Then I moved on to more and more windows and eventually my birds ignored all windows showing they knew better.
Sounds simple, it is. And it works.
Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Orlando, FL Shown: Blue throated macaw "Jinx"
If your bird continues not to understand, hold treats behind the window and let them feel how solid it is. Help them figure out how to go around it, and reward when they do a good job.
Encourage your bird from close distances, then further ones, so you can see how your bird is responding and learning about the window. Test, test, test until you're sure. You may want to test with other people the bird likes, or other birds in your flock on either side. Whatever will demonstrate best for your parrot.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.