I know that getting your birds outside can be a challenge with busy work & family schedules, but if and when you can, here are some tips for making it a great experience for your flock.
1 - What is the weather going to do? If there is a shower, do they have protection from rain? Can you get them inside in a timely manner before a storm? And make sure there's some good shade and protection from direct, hot sunlight.
2 - Check the water dishes in outside flights. It evaporates quickly, and gets dirty quickly. Clean water dishes daily and make sure water bowls are filled.
3 - Perfect time for a summer bath! - Outside in the hot shade is a great place to give your birds a spritz. (I actually use the mist setting on my garden hose to give my birds a cool down.) If your birds enjoy bathing in a bowl (or a hanging birdbath), the outside flight is the perfect place for a Splash Down.
4 - Check your outdoor cage or flight and make sure that it is securely closed.
5 - When you carry your birds into their flights, keep your eyes focused on your bird as you place him/her on the perch until you have left the aviary to make sure he doesn’t spook and try and fly out.
6 - Do NOT trust that, since your bird's wings are clipped, that it will not be able to fly. Truly a parrot myth. Hold your bird on your hand (NOT on your arm) and firmly hold his toes with your thumb wrapped around them. A little pressure on those tootsies as you walk outside is worth it to make sure your bird doesn’t spook at a wild bird, a noise, an airplane, etc, and then bolts.
8- Don’t put food outside for your birds. It will only draw other critters into the space.
9 - Give your birds some challenging toys, climbing ropes and swings to play with while they’re outdoors and take a look at them every trip outside to make sure they’re still worthy of playing with (not soaked from a rain, 1/2 gone, hanging precariously on an open quick link, etc). Safe-safe-safe and entertaining: that’s the ticket!
10 - Check on your birds while they are outside to make sure all is well.
11 - Keep your eyes focused totally on your bird when you pick him/her up to go inside. Make sure the door/gate is shut behind you while you get the “death grip” on those toes...and then open the door to leave.
I know this may sounds like a bunch of needless minutia, but over the years, we’ve all heard heartbreaking stories about birds spooking and flying off or something gone awry in the flight. Owners who trusted that, “Oh, my bird won’t fly off of my shoulder/arm/head when we go outside together;” birds that are clipped that just miraculously...fly away; birds that get caught in spaces too large for their species and are injured or worse.
Just use common sense when you get your birds outside. It’s good for them and you can make it the great experience that they need and deserve.
How do your birds get outside time? Please share in the "Comments" section below.