Wings: Clipped vs Unclipped

macawTo Clip or Not to Clip

There are a zillion and 1 opinions about clipping (or not) the flight feathers of your bird(s) and we are not here to say any of them are right or wrong.

You need to make the decision based on what’s right for your family dynamics and for your bird. I have heard over the years stories that can defend or debunk each side.

We have been in business 15 years and have clipped 1000’s of bird wings. I have met individuals who are strongly against taking away the flight of their feathered companion and they have the same behavior issues as a clipped bird.

So again, it has to be evaluated and decided per bird and the household they live in. Here are some benefits to teaching birds to fly, yes I said teaching and it should start from fledging age if you are going to do it.

Learning to land is a bigger challenge for both young and older birds:

  • They are more confident
  • They are less likely to fall and hurt themselves
  • Easier to potty train
  • Simply because it’s totally cool to seem them soar
  • They are less likely to become obese due to the incomparable exercise soaring up to the sky and dive bombing to the ground

So, if these are good enough reasons to leave your bird unclipped then by all means we support you. If you are on the fence about it here are some pros on clipping:

  • Greater chances of landing in the kitchen on a pan of boiling water or in a pool
  • Flying into a ceiling fan after being startled by a loud unexpected noise
  • Gliding right out an open door or window
  • Flying into a closed window
  • Slim chance of survival if they got out because we have the largest number of indigenous hawks in Florida

The goal of clipping the bird is to reduce his flight to no more than a downward glide. Proper trimming will dramatically reduce his ability to fly vertically or upward, your goal should be horizontal or a soft glide down. Birds are built for flight with their hollow bone structure, air sacs and evolved feather structure.

The arrangement of preened feathers enables the bird’s wings to be airfoils, “structures whose shape creates lift by altering air currents” (Campbell and Reece, 2002) and because of this shape the air pressure pushing down on the wings is less than the air pressure pushing upward on the bottom of the wing.

The difference in pressure provides the lift for flight. We have always provided this service to our customer FREE of charge and we in no way talk them in or out of their decision.

We just encourage people to know the work involved in having a flighted bird as there is equal work in having them clipped.

So keep your birds safe, keep them well, and keep them happy!

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