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Re: Why you shouldn't wing clip yet more info

Posted by Dave on 8/13/05
(82) Comments

    On 6/01/05, Emma wrote:
    >> I would like to clarify, this was not written by me, but
    >> by someone who wholeheartedly shares my opinion on this
    >> topic. Please read my last post under Birdie Welfare for
    >> my opinion.
    > I'd never clip my birds - flying is SO important for their
    > health both mental and physical! I know It's seen as 'best
    > practice' in the US, but I just know you'll all look back in
    > 10 years time and think - can you believe we used to do
    > that?
    > I know you're doing it out of love for your birdies, and
    > concern for their safety. But couldn't you use that love to
    > make their environment safe, and put in the training to have
    > a well behaved, fully flighted bird?
    > In the UK wing-clipping is not the automatic norm, and my
    > avian vet assures me he does not see a string of birds with
    > flight related injuries...
    > Birds were designed to fly, it's a physiological and
    > behavioural NEED. It strengthens their cardiovascular and
    > respiratory systems in a way that NO OTHER FORM OF EXERCISE
    > can replicate. And frustrating behavioural needs results in
    > displacement behaviours and/or steriotypies - some of which
    > can be extremely negative (feather-plucking, excessive
    > screaming etc)
    > There is nothing quite like the beauty and joy of a bird in
    > full flight!
    > Of course I have windows too (and a big glass door), but my
    > parrots are quite able to learn where and what they are.
    > What I did when they arrived in their new home, (and still
    > do every time they are visiting somewhere new) was: walk
    > around with the bird on my hand and go up to each window. I
    > would then move the bird closer and closer to the window,
    > until - bump - their beak touched the glass! Then I tap the
    > glass with my finger and say 'look window!'. I go round each
    > window in turn following the same procedure. Then, for the
    > first couple of weeks, I leave a sticker in the centre of
    > each pane (you can get pretty ones that aren't sticky, but
    > just peel off easily when you don't want them any more).
    > Anyway long story short - it works, my birds understand the
    > concept of a window... (and mirror).
    > They also don't crash into any objects (I have pillars,
    > hanging lights, etc. etc) - They are confident flyers! when
    > they were still learning, they took shorter flights, and
    > there were some crash landings, but only in a clumsy and
    > undignified 'oh I landed on my tummy instead of my feet'
    > way, and nothing worse than you'd get with a wing-clipped
    > bird. Remember these birds fly about in the jungle, far more
    > obstacles and dangers than in the average house...
    > My two can turn on the spot in a corridor not much wider
    > than their wing-span, and practically hover on the spot!
    > It's amazing and beautiful to watch
    > I know people clip their parrots wings out of (in my opinion
    > unfounded) safety concerns, but I think another reason is
    > fear of losing control of the bird. 'If he can just fly
    > away, then why would he obey me?' Well… he will, but not
    > because he has no choice - and is completely reliant on you,
    > but because he trusts and respects you, and has so much fun
    > with you and wants to be with you!
    > (I'm not suggesting that your birds don't have fun, want to
    > be with you etc. etc., I'm suggesting they do - and don't
    > need to be permanently grounded to want to spend time with
    > you!)
    > As regards the escaping thing - I think you're more likely
    > to become 100&37; vigilant if you KNOW your bird is flighted.
    > many escaped birds are wing-clipped to some extent, and it
    > has either grown out, or their owners didn't realise how
    > much flight they were capable of despite the clip. If the
    > incentive is good enough, even severely clipped birds can
    > fly enough to escape despite the fact that they have NEVER
    > been seen to do so up to that point! Some birds even 'run
    > away'; if you can lose a toddler in the park - imagine how
    > easily you can lose a parrot in your garden! The real
    > problem is that once a wing-clipped bird has escaped, it is
    > effectively a disabled bird and at the mercy of predators.
    > Can you imagine how much lower the survival rate of a
    > clipped bird is than that of a flighted escapee? Most
    > escaped birds will find 'someone' to look after them within
    > 48hours - and are therefore often returned to their
    > owners... But not if they're eaten by a cat first!
    > Think of it this way - parrots have a similar intelligence
    > to 2-4 year old human children. Now if you could get special
    > trousers that would prevent human toddlers from walking -
    > they would be much safer, you would avoid any risk of them
    > falling down the stairs or sticking their fingers in a plug-
    > socket, or putting their hand through a window pane
    > (incidentally I did both the latter when I was a child).
    > But no! that would be completely cruel and unethical,
    > imagine how it would effect the child's mental and physical
    > development - who would even consider such a thing???
    > Quite on the contrary - we encourage our children to play
    > sports, ride bicycles, and climb on the jungle-gym - despite
    > the fact that hundreds of children die every year doing
    > these things. Why do we behave in this irresponsible and
    > foolhardy manner? It's because we know that there is such a
    > thing as an acceptable level of risk - without which the
    > quality of our lives would decrease to an unacceptable
    > extent.
    > Of course we must take reasonable precautions, and try to
    > minimize risk, but ultimately for me it boils down to this:
    > Is it ethically acceptable to disable an animal (by taking
    > away it's most important means of locomotion), in order to
    > make it fit in better with your lifestyle? To me it isn't, I
    > don't disrespect anyone who comes to the opposite
    > conclusion, as long as they’ve given it proper thought and
    > are not just looking for an easy life (which I know doesn’t
    > applie to anyone here).
    > Stick a fork in me, I’m done!
    > I totally agree with you on this, and i am sure everyone
    > else does too. I agree there may be times that it is an
    > acceptable option to take, but on the whole, i feel birds
    > should have the freedom to flight, for both their mental and
    > physical needs.
    > To me, having a bird clipped for fear of it escaping should
    > not be neccesary. If sensible precautions are taken, it
    > should not be a problem.
    > Your comment about the kids is justified, and in the same
    > way, we worry about our dogs escaping, but so long as we
    > make sure doors are shut, gates are locked, this is not a
    > problem, we do not go around chopping their legs of, or even
    > clipping them to make life easier as we see that as cruel,
    > and would probably end up in prison for this! So why
    > therefore is it acceptable to do this to a bird? Are we
    > saying they do not have the same rights as any other
    > household pet?
    > Will the next big idea to be never to let the bird out of
    > it's cage for fear it might run away?
    > I would have thought it would be easier for a dog to get a
    > bird if it was walking on the floor, or easier to get hit by
    > a car if it walked in the road. If someone can't handle a
    > flying bird them don't keep them, stick to a cat or dog.
    > Many Vets in our country won't even clip birds wings.
    > Funnily enough someone on this site visited an American
    > site, told them her parrot was fully flighted and she
    > was "attacked" as you put it. Was that just because she was
    > English then?
    > Well now you see why I do not think wing clipping is a good
    > idea. It is not the done thing here and the birds are the
    > better for it. Now please, tell me I'm talking rubbish, as
    > I'm sure most of you will.
    > Good-day!
    I just got a baby female parakeet yesterday. The sellers asked
    me if i wanted her wings clipped. I said no. My brother's
    parakeet loves to fly in circles and squawk his little head
    off, before returning to the top of his cage. Sometimes, he
    (Batman--the bird--not my brother) evens flies out of his room
    to venture through the rest of the house. Of course, we keep
    the doors closed and windows screened... Duh!

    If one could only see the spectacle of a bird comfortably
    flying indoors, they would not clip their bird's wings.

    I don't believe in removing the toes from cat feet or chopping
    off puppy tails, So, Why Clip Bird Wings? Let's face it: They
    are B-I-R-D-S; belonging outdoors in a flock, flying. We
    already keep them indoors, many times in solitary confinement.
    At a minimum, let's afford them their physical integrity.


    Left Coast Dave