Parrots enjoy spending time in the sun and watching the world go by. However, 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 wild. Even if a parrot’s wings have been clipped recently, it can still fly away if a strong wind blows.
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 go missing every year because they make a break for freedom when outside with their owners. Even if the parrot isn’t intent on abandoning you, it may take to the air and never return.
If a parrot considers you a part of its flock, it won’t like being separated from its owner. However, just because the parrot has bonded with you doesn’t mean it won’t instinctually fly away while outside.
Parrots get scared easily. According to Semantic Scholar, even well-trained parrots will fly away when suddenly spooked by a dog barking, a neighbor shouting, or passing traffic.
Do Parrots Come Back Home?
Some owners allow parrots the freedom to come and go from the home, but this isn’t recommended.
You may hear them claim that their parrots always return. However, a parrot that manages to return a few times isn’t guaranteed to return every time. Unfortunately, the following can happen:
Gets Lost in The Wild
Parrots don’t have a homing ability because they evolved to rely on their flock. Wild parrots seldom spend time alone, and almost everything they do happens in a group.
If a parrot flies off, it may intend to return. Once it gets far enough away, it’ll stop recognizing 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.
Pet parrots 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 fly home, even if it hasn’t traveled far.
Domestic parrots depend on their owners for sustenance, so they can’t identify which foods are good for them and which aren’t. Many parts of the country don’t have abundant natural food resources.
A parrot may get a disease from interacting with things outside, be it other birds or garbage.
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 and surrender their birds.
How To Safely Take A Parrot Outdoors
Here are various ways you can safely let the parrot outdoors, including the following:
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 parrot’s back so its 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. If you want more freedom for the parrot, get a slightly longer leash.
If you decide to use a harness, start indoors until you trust the harness and feel more confident.
Putting the cage outside for a few hours can benefit a parrot’s health and well-being.
Partial sun exposure enables a parrot to absorb vitamin D3 for calcium absorption, get fresh air into its lungs and air sacs, and enjoy new and interesting sounds and experiences.
A shaded area should be provided 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 short adventures.
You can build an aviary if you want the parrot to fly free without escaping and getting lost.
An aviary is a large enclosure with four 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 purposes.
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.
- Born to domestic parents with no exposure to a wild environment.
- Only 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 adequate precautions.
Even if the parrot has no issues sitting on your shoulder or flying around a parrot-safe room, it may not behave the same way outside due to many new stimuli.
If the parrot grows anxious, it may start screaming and vocalizing loudly. In this case, you need to get the parrot accustomed to being out of the house.
Here are some different ways to help the parrot adjust:
Take It Outside in A Cage
To introduce the parrot to the great outdoors, place its cage outside. Do the following:
- Nearby cage position. If the parrot gets agitated, you can return 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 become overstimulated.
- 10-minute-long sessions. 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 the 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, causing them to loathe the process and become defensive and hostile.
Harness Training A Parrot
If done slowly and patiently, the parrot will tolerate the harness. Here’s how:
- Choose a comfortable training area for the parrot.
- Slowly present the harness to the parrot while it’s in your hand.
- If the parrot becomes curious and tries to touch or get close to it, reward it with a snack.
- Place the harness near the parrot, but not too close, as it may become alarmed.
- Let the parrot get closer to the harness by itself.
- Each time the parrot shows some interest in the harness, reward it.
For the next few days, do this consistently at a scheduled time. Once the parrot is comfortable, you can secure the harness to the parrot.
Outdoor Training A Parrot
Once the parrot accepts the harness, it’s ready for outdoor training.
Outdoor training requires experimentation with the parrot’s tolerance levels. You must be observant, as this training will enable you to establish a healthy outdoor routine. Here’s what to do:
- Take snacks and a clicker with you, assuming the parrot is clicker trained.
- Take a walk around your yard with the parrot.
- Identify the signs that a parrot wants to return inside. For example, panicked behavior.
- Increase the time spent outside every few days until you understand 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 predatory birds like eagles or hawks, they could kill a parrot almost 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 climates.
However, 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.