Our very first day with Laka in our home, we started having
trouble. Maybe I should say she started having trouble.
Laka had not been around
windows much, and she had several window collisions the first couple of days
in our house. She would fly up and ram directly into the window, then
drop like a sack of potatoes, flapping all the way. The collision was
bad enough, but she'd also hit the window sill on the way
down. It was an awful thing to witness.
She was a pretty good flier when we
got her, but because she's so young, she didn't have the muscle tone yet to
get up a lot of speed. She could lift, turn, and land reasonably
well. We wanted to let her fly and develop the strength
and confidence she should have, but my nightmare was that she'd soon be able
to cruise from one end of the house to the other. If she didn't grasp
the idea of "windows" before she started doing that, she might
cruise straight through the house, bank into a turn and crash hard enough to
do some real damage.
|She also didn't seem to realize
that the ceiling is there. A couple of times she flew up so high that she grazed the textured ceiling in the family room
with her head. The result was nasty looking
scrapes on her nares. The final straw came when she cracked
straight into a window in our dining area. She dropped and hit the window crank hard, knocking off a couple of feathers
above the eye and sustaining cuts and a nasty scrape on her left cheek.
(Feb. 11, 2007) Pretty awful looking,
isn't it? All this was from hitting the window sills after
crashing into the window.
I much prefer to leave my birds' feathers
alone, but Laka's crash landings were quite alarming. We have a lot of windows in our house, and although she did seem to be starting to learn
the boundaries, I was very concerned that a severe injury was in her future.
reluctance, we asked our vet to give her a very light trim - just enough to
slow her down.
Well it worked - but a little too
well. The vet trimmed a mere 2 inches from her primary flights - but
Laka just went into shock over it and after one attempt to fly once we got
home, stopped trying altogether.
Here she is contemplating a small
flight of stairs.
She's perfectly capable of making a
little "hop-flight" to get down, but instead she'll walk (a much
more laborious and time-consuming way to do it).
She looks, turns around, then lowers
one foot over the edge. Once she lets the other foot down, she
flicks her wings up to maintain balance.
One more step to go....
And off she goes, looking for
have to admit that there was a certain amount of "convenience"
to having a parrot who won't fly - but Laka turned into a total perch
potato overnight. Not good. Now I worried that she wasn't not getting any
exercise and her chest muscles would go flabby.
(Sep. 2007) Here we are having a
With that in mind, I started her on "flapflap" practice. This is done by
my holding her on my hand or forearm and raising/lowering her just quickly
enough that she has to flap her wings a little to maintain balance.
She didn't care for this much (neither
did I) but it helped
her to retain and build chest muscle strength so that she could fly again.
|Eventually, the clipped feathers molted out
and she grew replacements.
One day during "flapflap"
practice, she suddenly lifted from my hand and took off. Much to my
dismay, she went straight for the window, and I knew she was going to hit
it. I yelled "WINDOW!" and in that split second
before she collided, she changed the angle of her wings and tail - and had
a look on her face which said "Oh... #$*&!"
(Jan. 2008) Nearly all the clipped
feathers have molted (it's been almost a year since she was trimmed).
These days whenever she takes flight, my
husband and I automatically yell "WINDOW!", knowing that is right
where she's headed. She's still obstinately going straight for the
glass, but on several occasions she's slowed down enough at the end to only
thud slightly, and can catch herself and turn around instead of dropping to
the floor. It's not great, but it's an improvement.