Member Login



Auto-login for future visits

Join or Renew Today!

Membership Benefits:

Close Button

Safely fledging Budgies

Expert Question

Hi EB, I have a pair of budgies that probably were cliped before fledging. They are now about 6 months old and feathers are fully grown in. Please give advice on how to help them fledge safely at this point.
Thanks, Jeffrey

Expert Answer

Dear Jeffrey, As your budgerigars are still quite young, it should not be too difficult to accomplish their first flying training.

Once their flight feathers are all grown out, you can encourage them to begin flapping on your finger or on a stick by raising and lowering the stick to get them to begin feeling their wing downbeats supporting their body weight.

Flight training is all about landing skills, so you need to teach them to land competently. This we accomplish on the master bed where the bird can be encouraged to fly six or eight inches at first down to the soft surface—learning through repetition to brake with its wings, put out its feet and look downward to a feet-first landing. Make sure you do not allow them to over-flap and fly a long distance to crash to the floor. Such mistakes ruin their progress and make them fearful of bumps and bruises.

From there you can progress to getting them to take longer two, three, four-foot flights to build up confidence on the soft surface. Once they get that down, a folded bath towel on top of their cage or the couch back, etc. can be another landing site.

Flying to a perch can take place a bit later as it is a more precise skill and can involve a harder landing on the feet and leg muscles.

You will know when they are flying better because most parrots begin to increase their speed. Make sure they learn to fly down, turn left and right and return, and of course are able to adjust and fly after a bath when still wet. Feel free to contact me with any specific questions about your pets’ fledging.
Cheers, EB

EB Cravens
About EB Cravens

“If we TRULY believe our captive-raised hookbills are important to world parrot conservation, we must work ceaselessly to ensure that these same psittacines retain as much of their wild instinctual behavior as is possible,” affirms avicultural writer and hobby breeder EB Cravens, from his small organic farm on the slopes of the Big Island Hawaii.

“Our goal is to birth and raise only a few baby parrots who know that they are parrots, but choose to befriend humans, because humans are nice to them… feed them… and are fun to be with!”

EB has bred, trained, raised, kept and rehabilitated more than 75 species of psittacines during the past twenty plus years both at his home and while managing the notable exotic bird shoppe, Feathered Friends of Santa Fe, New Mexico. His emphasis on natural environments for birds, the urging of babies to fully fledge during the extended weaning process, and the leaving of chicks for many weeks inside the nest box with their parents in order that they may learn the many intangibles of their species, have succeeded in changing for the better the lives of so many captive parrots.

A science writer by training, he was for years a regular contributor for AFA’s Watchbird Magazine and the Companion Parrot Quarterly. EB currently writes a monthly column entitled “The Complete Psittacine” in PARROTS Magazine out of England; and another, “The Hookbill Hobbyist” down under in the well-regarded Australian Birdkeeper. His monthly series of articles “Birdkeeping Naturally,” is sent out to bird clubs and individuals around the U.S.

“As devastating pressures continue upon avian species in the wilds,” he says, “it is critical that those keeping birds in captivity do so with responsibility and foresight.”