These are true stories of two ladies who believed that their birds were "clipped."

WATCH the race on video of 2 young girls single-handedly putting on flight suits

READ about how safe and effective Flight Suits don't want your bird to get loose!



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This first story is of a lady we know personally. She was horrified at the thought of losing her Dakota and begged us to pass this on. She thought that it might save some the horror of losing their bird.

I am still shaking from the horror I just went through! I'm embarrassed, but at the same time shocked that it happened, and to me.

Doug was outside planting some plants and I took Harley & Dakota (Caiques) on the front porch and sat there while he planted. I take them out all the time and they've never tried to fly away. In fact Harley drops like a rock and Dakota has only flown about 4 ft. inside. Well, was I surprised when something scared Dakota and she flew from the front porch, across the street to the top of the house across the street. Doug ran and got the ladder, but he couldn't go on the roof (to get her) as Dakota is still afraid of him (don't know why but she's been this way since I got her).

So I had to climb up on the ladder, across this hot, shingled roof and try not to frighten her further. I was able to get within a foot of her and she climbed up on my finger. I tucked her in my shirt and scooted down the roof and put her in the awaiting carrier. Doug put her down and helped me get off the roof. I am so overwhelmed with guilt, at the thought of losing her and it being my fault, and anger at myself for being so stupid.

So this is a message to everyone out there that it CAN happen to YOU too. They are both so good and love to go outside and look up in the sky. Well no more, at least not without being in a cage or carrier. I was going to take them and get their wings clipped, but it was my fault, and now I know they can NEVER go outside unless on a harness or in a cage.

I'm hyperventilating and shaking from the thought of losing my sweet Dakota. How would I ever forgive myself? The thought of her trying to survive in the wild is more than I can handle right now. Well, I am going to go and count my blessings right now as I feel VERY lucky to have her back, safe and sound.

The next few paragraphs are people who responded to her.

--Oh Vicki, I'm so glad nothing bad happened to Dakota.  This is what I tell
people all the time, and so many ignore me, thinking I'm nuts.  They think
their bird loves them and would never fly away.  But I've known of soooo
many...and many of them died (one got killed right in front of the owner,
another one went into water and drowned).  When you read the Lost column in
the newspaper, or at the Bird Hotline ( just know that the
majority of these birds should never have gotten loose.

--Everyone...take heed to this message and save your loved birds from a
terrible death.  When they do get loose, they are lost, as they've never
been out there flying around, and they become very frightened also, so it's
harder to catch them.  One Cockatiel in the Phoenix area flew away and was
found 3 months later, 25 miles away!

This is Vicki again.

---PLEASE, PLEASE heed this warning- Birds are guided by their instincts (in the wild) and these instincts don't go away because we keep them in cages. In the wild if they are spooked and do nothing they are prey, so therefore when we let them outside and they are spooked their instinct is to fly away. Please don't let it happen to you. Sorry to sound preachy, but wanted to share my experience which was horrifying.

---I would be "honored" for you to share it with whomever you'd like as I really want people to know how "heart wrenching" it is to go through this and it CAN be avoided. Also, Dakota was just starting to get her wing feathers in and I truly did not believe she could fly as far as she did (obviously) or I would never have taken that chance. Caiques are supposed to be very poor fliers due to their stocky bodies, but I learned that is not true either. And to think I would take her and Harley out to get the mail and talk to the mail lady and NEVER thought anything of it. I will have to explain to the mail lady WHY they won't be able to visit with her anymore. I'm just overwhelmed with relief that I got her back.

Anyone that wishes to share this with others- PLEASE DO. Maybe it will help.

This story is courtesy of Vicki J.

This next story is of a lady in Georgia who had a Congo African Grey who got loose!

She was 2--I took her home when she was about three months old....finished weaning her myself, which I know is controversial among breeders, but I was trained to do it correctly and she was down to two feedings--every thing went fine. 

She was totally trusting of me and I decided to let her flight wings grow out after discussing the pros and cons repeatedly with various other owners. I have several flight suits for her BUT I didn't put them on her regularly during her first year--big mistake. She loved going out with me but there was  a period of months that I didn't take her out and didn't put her flight suit on. . .the next time I tried it was a battle royal. I had to get it one her but it was really traumatizing to her. . I tried it one more time...same result and I decided to find another way, like a harness or something, in the interim as the weather got nice. I started taking her out on my shoulder, yes stupid, stupid, stupid. 

The day before Easter something frightened her and she was gone.  I live in a condo complex with a large creek and woods behind it... she reappeared several times during the next week and I believe I saw her once when I went looking for her on the creek. She seemed content and not the least interested in coming home--its been almost three weeks now and she has not been seen for more than a week and a half, and I have never heard her. 

It has been very cold here in the interim, low 40s several nights. Oddly enough another African Grey got loose right after Loki--a 12 year old named Harley. I called his owner when I saw her add in the Atlanta paper and we spoke for some time...she had owned him for 10 years and was absolutely heart broken, even more so when someone found him dead.  He had no signs of trauma so I am guessing it was hypothermia.

So Loki is probably either dead or has been taken in by someone who does not want to give her back.  I have adds and flyers all over the place and she's banded, so anyone who finds her would not have a very hard time finding me.  Anyway, I have a huge glass aviary that has enough room for two birds if I ever find her.....

This story is courtesy of Suzanne A. and may  not be forwarded or copied without permission.


Just on Friday, July 27th, we got another email from Suzanne. We were a little tentative at first, because we didn't want more bad news, but--well, I'll let you read her email to find out if we had any reason to be tentative:

Hi there--

Since you published my sad story on your website--I thought an update would be appropriate!!!!!  You may recall that I lost my African Grey, Loki, in April- April 14, 2006 at around 4pm to be exact she flew off my shoulder after being spooked.  I looked and looked for her--posted flyers, put ads everywhere, contacted my vets. . and nothing--I was broken hearted--could not stop crying--could not bear going home to the empty cage.  

I got a call yesterday--July 26, 2006--Crystal found my contact info on Birdhotline and called me to say she thought she had my bird...and indeed she did- At the end of April, Alvin, Crystal's husband, was on the roof of a building in my neighborhood doing construction work.  Loki landed on his shoulder--he took her home--they posted flyers and ads but somehow we never connected.  Alvin and Crystal took such good care of Loki--not a feather plucked and she has gained 5 grams.  But they really didn't want to keep her--they knew she belonged to someone and being young family on a budget felt the expense of getting Loki (aka Nemo--their 4 year old boy's name for her) a proper cage etc would be too much.  But they purchased a small cage and Crystal bought a book about Greys-fed her "a strict diet of fruit vegetables and seeds" and waited to hear from someone claiming her--and they did on several occasions.  However, Crystal said these people obviously "knew nothing about the bird" so she didn't believe them and did not give them my bird. 

Finally, not having gotten any legitimate response to their ads, it occurred to Crystal to go on the Internet and there I was.  She called and we immediately agreed that she had my bird based on the things she was saying/singing (the Andy Griffith song).  We are reunited and I am so thankful.   Loki seems to be pretty happy about it to!!!!

The next day, after asking her permission to put this on our site, she wrote this:

Hi Lisa--thank you--I am just beside myself and you are welcome to put it on your website---it is a wonderful ending--Loki is very happy to be home--she is speaking in different voices--she says "Nemo" every once in a while--and she has learned how to belch!!!

Here is a picture of Loki:

To read more about flight suits/bird harnesses, click here.

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