Taking your Parrot Hiking?
Could you leave that face at home?
Kiki was my first parrot, a Sun Conure. She had a special bond with our entire family, so we wanted to spend a great deal of time with her. Unfortunately, there are some things that are simply difficult to do with our feather babies. Going out to eat and then to a movie, not going to happen. I'm sure she would have been on her best behavior, but a parrot's version of best behavior simply doesn't go over well in restaurants or theaters. The closest thing to a bird friendly mall was the local pet store, and honestly she tended to get bored. That left outdoor activities. During the long winters in Alaska, she stayed home most of the time, only really venturing out if she had to go to a vet appointment. The cold weather and icy roads often made it easier for us to stay at home as well, but summer in Alaska is beautiful, and there was no way we would leave her out of it.
Just one more reason for a good bird carrier.
The first thing we had to do when taking Kiki out with us was to make sure her environment was safe. Since having her riding on our shoulders in eagle country was a risk we never were compelled to take, in our case it meant getting a carrier that both kept her safe and allowed us freedom of movement while carrying it. The main safety points were to make sure she had somewhere solid to perch, either for hiking or for picnics, to make sure she had water, and to protect her from rain or mosquitoes if needed. We chose the Celltei pack with the stainless steel mesh to keep out the mosquitoes, but they are not the only game in town by any means. It's also important to remember that the carrier must be large enough for the bird you have, otherwise their excitement at seeing new things could lead to broken tail feathers. We used natural insect repellents when Kiki was with us to make sure that she wasn't exposed to the chemicals and although they do help somewhat, I'm fairly certain the stainless steel mesh did a better job.
What we learned.
There were a few things we learned that made hiking with Kiki a more enjoyable experience for her and for us. For one thing, if you are going to carry your birds carrier on your front, you can't see your feet. Pick a fairly smooth trail, and it's a good idea to have someone who can see their feet lead the way. Also, a cover on the top of the carrier is great for stopping rain provided it's coming straight down, but it doesn't help much if the wind is blowing. If you don't want a soaking wet bird glaring at you and sulking when you get home, it's a good idea to bring something that you can use to cover the sides in a pinch.. a towel worked out just fine for us and was easy to carry. Speaking of a wet bird, those bowls of water that are in the birdy backpacks, they work fine for small trips to the pet store, and even for picnics in the park but they splash when you are walking at a decent clip. You will want to either fit a drip style water bottle in the pack or you can fill the bowls with water heavy fruits and vegetables. We generally filled the bowls with watermelon, apples or small pieces of celery. It is important to remember to chop the celery finely if you use celery, and not to give them too much as the strings in the celery can cause blockages in large amounts.
Kiki's favorite hiking destination near Anchorage
It turned out to be one of her favorite activities. Picnics were fun, especially if nuts were involved, but no food was needed to get her excited if we wanted to take a short hike. She loved seeing the green trees and the flowers, and unlike us, she was well protected from the mosquitoes. She absolutely loved the opportunity to hear all of the birds in the forest, and copy their calls as well.
© 2015 Penny Sebring