How to Travel with Cockatiels

The drive can be quite enjoyable for both of you if you keep your bird in mind.

The drive can be quite enjoyable for both of you if you keep your bird in mind.

Traveling with your 'tiel can be a fun, exciting adventure for both of you, but it can also be scary and potentially dangerous for your little buddy. Making the trip as safe and stress-free as possible for your bird can pay off big toward adventure on your vacation!

By Car

Place the travel carrier in sight of your 'tiel for a few days leading up to the trip. Place a few of your feathered friend's favorite toys and treats in there to encourage exploring the new cage. This is particularly helpful if you haven't traveled with your little guy or if it's a brand-new travel carrier.

Set up your 'tiel's travel carrier with soft perches. The hard perches in her regular cage can be hard to grip onto during a car ride.

Place your little guy in his travel carrier while talking in a friendly, soothing voice.

Secure the cage to the backseat of your car with the seat belt. If you can't, you need to secure it somehow so it won't tip over or bounce too much during your ride.

Tie all the cage doors with cable ties or even twist-ties. Having a stressed out 'tiel flying or hopping around your car while you're driving could lead to quite an adventure, and one you probably don't want to experience!

Cover most of the cage with a light-colored sheet or blanket that isn't too heavy, leaving only an opening through which your little guy will be able to see you. This will help protect against drafts and direct sunlight, which are dangerous to your bird.

Talk to your 'tiel during the trip; sing, if that's something you do regularly. Act as if the car is just another room in your house.

Plane

Call the air carrier several months in advance to book your flight and inquire as to all its rules about avian travelers. Some carriers won't allow any birds, some have limitations on how many can be on a given flight, some have cage-size limits, some have regulations regarding how long birds can be in cargo and some have limits on birds traveling in the cabin. All carriers are different and you'll want to know all of this as soon as possible!

Take your little guy to the bird doctor to get a clean bill of health. All airlines require this and it will also let you know if your bird is healthy enough for air travel—after all, it can be pretty stressful on your 'tiel.

Prepare your little guy for air travel as best as possible by introducing the travel carrier to him before flight.

Clip your 'tiel's wings, or at the very least have a harness prepared and easily accessible. There is always the chance that security may ask you to remove your little friend from her cage to inspect her, and having your 'tiel fly around the airport can be a headache for everyone, including your bird!

Items you will need

  • Travel carrier
  • Soft perches
  • Cable ties or twist-ties
  • Light-colored sheet
  • Veterinarian-documented clean bill of health
  • Harness
 

About the Author

With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.

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