Guest Author - Heather Thomas
Whether itís an emergency trip to the avian vet or a family vacation, traveling with your bird may become necessary at some point. It is important to consider your birdís accommodations ahead of time so that the trip is happy and safe for everyone involved.
There are many options for bird appropriate pet carriers on the market today. A standard dog crate can be transformed into a safe haven for your bird but bird specific carriers do exist. One such carrier, called the Wingabago, is made of clear plexiglass and fitted with a perch and food and water dishes. This carrier allows your bird to see whatís going on around them, which could be a problem if your bird is not used to traveling. The fast moving environment can be unsettling and cause your bird undue stress, in which case it is probably better to choose a solid sided carrier.
Ensure your birdís safety by buckling the carrier to the seat using the seat belt. This will prevent your bird from taking a tumble if the vehicle must come to a quick stop or is involved in an accident. Although it might be tempting for a quick trip to allow your bird to travel outside of a carrier, this is potentially unsafe for your bird and you. Never leave your bird unattended in a vehicle. A good general rule is if you wouldnít leave a small child in the vehicle you shouldnít leave your bird. Always make sure your bird has access to water and food.
If your bird is high-strung or not used to traveling, teach it how to enter and exit the travel carrier in the safety of your home. This is not only helpful for the family road trip but also for the unexpected visit to the avian vet. To reduce stress from sensory overload, cover your birdís carrier so that fast moving objects outside the vehicle do not scare your bird.
When carrying your bird outside itís carrier, especially if it is flighted, utilize a correctly sized lanyard. This is comparable to a harness and leash for your bird. Even if your bird is well adjusted and calm, having your bird on a lanyard give you better control if unexpected circumstances arise and startle your bird. Birds will not automatically accept a lanyard; they must be trained to allow you to dress them. Take it slow, do not force it; that would only cause your bird to be fearful of the lanyard.
Call ahead when planning to stay at a hotel. Some hotels will allow you to stay with your bird but many will not. If you are traveling in an RV, adjust climate control to accommodate your bird when you are outside the vehicle. Check all applicable laws when your trip is going to take you over borders or state lines so that you can make necessary preparations and have any required paper work.
Consider your birdís feelings and fears when traveling together and train necessary behaviors ahead of time. This will make for a pleasant experience for everyone involved.