She had been returned to the pet store and was on consignment there. All the other birds were in the front of the store at the window, she was in the back ... apparently, all she could do was scream - she didn't "talk" like the other birds. And her cage was on the floor, so nobody could even see her unless you knelt down. She was begging me for attention when I walked by. She was in the early stages of feather plucking, not that you could tell that now. We fell in love with each other instantly.
Ok ... this will end up being a long post, but it will give you a complete history of her flight training. Here goes...
I trained her to "come" on command for about a year before she ever went outside - one thing I wanted to make very clear in that video is that when I say "come", Zoey comes. That also included teaching her to fly from the top of the door to the floor, which is important - indoor birds fly left to right, outside birds have to fly up and down - huge difference! Especially when you consider the wind, that creates lift that doesn't exist indoors.
We then took brief trips outside with her on my shoulder to familiarize her with the area ... which turned into longer walks, and eventually perching her on the fence.
After a couple months of going outside, I went for a flight ... about 5 feet from my arm to the fence, she ended up flying upwards towards the condos - I was somewhat concerned, but knew her flight path would lead her to the 3rd floor banister - in other words, I had anticipated her being taken upwards due to the extra lift of being outside and doing it in front of the condos would minimize the risk. She was about 15 feet in the air when I screamed "ZOEY" and she turned around on a dime and landed on the fence!
After that, Zoey refused to fly outside. She wanted nothing to do with it. I had to slowly coax her into it by having her face me and toss her gently into the air and run backwards ... a few feet at first. Always praising her upon landing. Eventually, that turned into me running across the yard. If I had to start over, I would use that approach - that is, having her fly a short distance to me instead of flying to the fence.
In short time, Zoey began to love flying outside ... if I just open the door she will fly to me. You can see all how excited she is being outside in the video. The first clips of her flying to the fence were taken last spring when she was still learning - the shots taken of her on the roof were done in the fall.
I want to do another video, showing her flying indoors - she can fly through this house like you wouldn't believe! She will fly out the bathroom, turn 90 degrees down the narrow hall to do a 180 to land on her shelf in the living room. I have always encouraged her to fly. I believe every bird owner should teach their bird to fly, it is as important as teaching your baby to walk.
The next video is going to give training tips and expose the evils of wing clipping. I hope to get shots showing my parakeets playing on the ceiling fan and landing on mirrors. Wing clipping is the worst thing you can ever do to a bird and I am hell bent on proving it - if you don't believe me, I will show you.
Clipping a birds wings is very dangerous to the bird and should be illegal! You can't short cut proper training by clipping wings - all it does it create a false sense of security that puts your bird in greater danger than flying ever will - please don't clip your birds wings!