Parrots enjoy time in the sun, soaking up UV rays and watching the world go by. Unfortunately, there are dangers when taking a parrot outside because they can fly away, never to return.
Curiosity, intrigue, or a loud noise can cause a parrot to fly off into the distance. It’s okay to take a parrot outside on a harness, place its cage outside temporarily, or put it in an aviary.
Can You Let a Pet Parrot Outside?
Parrots often go missing because they fly to freedom when outside with their owners. Even if the parrot isn’t intent on abandoning you, it may take to the air and be unable to find its way home.
If a parrot considers you a part of its flock, it won’t like being separated. Unfortunately, just because a parrot has bonded with you doesn’t mean it won’t instinctually fly away off.
Do Parrots Come Back Home?
Some owners allow parrots the freedom to come and go from the home, but this isn’t recommended.
They may claim that their parrots always return. However, a parrot that manages to return a few times isn’t guaranteed to return every time. This is because the following can happen:
Gets Lost in The Wild
Parrots don’t have a homing instinct because they evolved to rely on their flock. Wild parrots seldom spend time alone, and almost everything they do happens collectively.
If a parrot flies off, it may intend to return. However, once it gets far enough away, it’ll no longer recognize the area and be unable to tell which way home is and keep flying, ending up even more lost.
Injury, Sickness, And Death
Pet parrots aren’t equipped with the necessary survival tools to live outside of their owner’s home.
They also tire more easily than wild parrots. Some run out of energy after flying around for a while and become vulnerable to predators and extreme weather (hot and cold).
If a parrot sustains an injury or grows unwell, it won’t be able to return, even if it hasn’t traveled far.
Domestic parrots depend on their owners for sustenance, so they can’t identify which foods are safe or dangerous. Many parts of the country lack natural foods.
A parrot could get a disease from interacting with sick birds and animals.
Captured or Adopted
If someone finds the parrot in their yard, they may keep it as a family pet or sell it for profit. Even if someone with good intent finds the parrot, you likely won’t be located by the person.
It’s natural to assume that a parrot has been set free because an owner can’t meet its care requirements.
According to the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, parrot rescues are increasing because many people release or surrender their pet birds.
How To Safely Take A Parrot Outdoors
Here are ways to safely let a parrot outdoors. This includes:
A harness can be fastened securely around the parrot’s body to its chest, legs, and under its wings. The harness will extend from the back so the wings aren’t inhibited.
If the parrot is startled or curious and attempts to fly off, you can prevent it from getting out of reach. Get a slightly longer leash to give the parrot greater freedom.
If you use a harness, start indoors until you have complete trust in the harness.
Putting the cage outside for a few hours can benefit a parrot’s health.
Partial sun exposure enables a parrot to synthesize vitamin D3 for calcium absorption, get fresh air in its lungs and air sacs, and enjoy new and interesting experiences.
A shaded area should be available on one side of the cage to minimize the risk of overheating and heatstroke. You can get a portable cage with a handle to take the parrot for mini adventures.
You can get an aviary if you want a parrot to fly free without escaping and getting lost.
An aviary is a large enclosure with 4 walls and a roof. It can be wrapped with chicken wire, meaning fresh air can easily pass through. Include a two-door entryway for safety.
If you have the know-how, you can buy an aviary and assemble the parts or build one from scratch.
Why Doesn’t My Parrot Like Being Outside?
While most parrots enjoy the exercise and sunlight, others find the experience overwhelming.
External stimuli can trigger anxious behaviors when taken outside the house, which is common in parrots that have always lived indoors. This includes parrots that were:
- Not kept near windows or doors that gave them a view outside.
- Transported from a breeder directly to your home.
An aversion to the outdoors can happen in parrots that have experienced emotional trauma. Since their hyper-awareness of danger is so strong, they can be startled by new sights or sounds.
If a parrot is always scared, training can be undertaken to remove this fear.
Training A Parrot To Go Outdoors
If the parrot has never been outdoors or hasn’t done so in years, don’t thrust them into this new environment without taking precautions.
Even if the bird has no issues sitting on your shoulder or flying around a parrot-safe room, it may not behave the same way outside due to new stimuli.
Here are some ways to help a parrot adjust:
Take It Outside in A Cage
To introduce a parrot to the great outdoors, place its cage outside. Do the following:
- Nearby cage position. If the parrot is agitated, you can quickly take it inside.
- Cover 3 sides of the cage. This ensures the parrot can’t see too much at once. The less it can see, the less likely it is to grow overstimulated.
- 10-minute-long sessions. Start with a short amount of time. If the parrot wants to spend more time outdoors, its sounds and body language will alert you.
- Consistency: Parrots thrive on routine, so maintain a consistent routine.
Keep the cage locked, and never open the door until you’re back inside your home.
Once a parrot is more comfortable, begin harness training. Remember that most parrots hate wearing harnesses, so training them to wear one can be difficult.
Many owners grow frustrated and strong-arm their parrots into the gear, which is counterproductive.
Outdoor Training A Parrot
Once the parrot accepts the harness, it’s ready for outdoor training.
This requires experimentation with the parrot’s tolerance levels. You must be observant because it’ll enable you to establish a healthy outdoor routine. Here’s what to do:
- Take snacks and a clicker with you.
- Take a walk around the yard with the parrot.
- Identify the signs that a parrot wants to return inside, like restless behavior or panic.
- Increase the time spent outside every few days until you learn the bird’s limits.
- Never walk with a parrot outside for more than 2 hours.
Beware of Dangers
If you live in an area with birds of prey like eagles or hawks, they could kill a parrot near-instantly. If so, outdoor cages and supervision throughout are preferred over harnesses.
Some parrots can acclimate to cold weather, but most are more comfortable in warmer climes.
If the temperature is too hot, keep the outdoor time short. If the parrot keeps opening its wings and panting, it’s overheating, so take it back inside to moderate its temperature.
Parrots like going outside but introduce them to the outdoors safely and gradually. A harness is preferred unless you live in an area with avian predators or extreme weather.