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Travel Tips For You And Your Bird

Good tips to keep in mind before you attempt to travel with your bird.

By Diane Grindol
Posted: May 6, 2009, 5:00 a.m. EDT

Set Up Your Carrier Before You Head Out

  • Remove toys, which could swing into your bird during transit.
  • Help keep the travel cage clean by cutting several layers of newspaper to fit, and roll up and discard the top layer as needed.
  • You’ll get to know how your bird adjusts to traveling after a few trips. Be sure to have a light cover with you. If your bird is over stimulated by passing scenery, cover the carrier.

    A pet bird is safely transported in his travel carrier
    Cioli & Hunnicutt/BowTie Studio
    Make sure your travel carrier is prepared for your trip before you set out.

  • For hot weather, pack a plant mister filled with clean water. Mist your bird occasionally when it’s hot to keep it cool. Signs that your bird is hot are panting and holding its wings away from its body. Birds lose heat through their feet, as well. If you pick your bird up and its feet are warm, it is a sign that it's time for a cooling mist.
  • Instead of using a bowl of water, which can slosh around in the carrier, provide a bowl of freshly-washed greens or a piece of sliced fruit. Accustom your bird to drinking from a water bottle, which you can attach to the side of the carrier.
  • Keep a few paper towels on hand for clean up.

On The Road

Be Responsible
If you’re staying in a hotel, pack a light sheet to put under your bird’s cage. Be responsible about your bird so all birds owners can retain the right to take our birds into hotels and airplanes. That’s a benefit to all of us.

Plan Ahead
If you’re traveling by plane, contact your airline beforehand. Usually, only one pet (or one carrier with multiple small birds) is allowed in an airline cabin and you’ll need to make a reservation. You may also need a health certificate for your bird, which you can get from your avian veterinarian close to the date of your flight.

If you’re flying internationally, you’ll need to fill out extra paperwork. Find out what permits you will need, and start making arrangements at least a couple months before your trip.

If you’re visiting relatives or friends, be sure they know that you’re bringing a bird! Discuss where the bird will be kept to keep it safe from resident pets and for the comfort of other people in the household, as well as of you and your bird. Some people are allergic to birds’ dander, and others have a fear of birds. Give your friends and relatives the most positive experience you can. Be aware of others' comfort levels around your bird; don’t allow your bird free range of the home you are visiting.

And remember, while on a vacation, have fun!

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Travel Tips For You And Your Bird

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Reader Comments
thank you
stephanie, no smithfield, RI
Posted: 6/3/2009 3:44:48 PM
International travel with a pet bird is more difficult but not impossible with proper planning. As an Army wife and mother of 2 macaws we have done our share of moving. We moved to Alaska last year and because we drove through Canada the birds had to have pet passports issued by U.S. Fish and Wildlife each costing me $75.00 and both had to have health certificates, then I had to make arrangements with a Fish and Wildlife inspector to fill out the 3-177 form, be inspected and pay my $95.00 inspection fee. Then once I reached the Canadain port I had another form to fill out for Canada but they do not charge you any more fees since the US inspected and charged me. Then I had to do the reverse when we reached Alaska and came back into the US. I also had to contact the USDA vet for the state of Alaska to see if I was going to have to take the birds to be inspected by USDA. As it turned out I didn't have to have them inspected by the USDA. It was really just a lot of paperwork but do your research and start early because it took me like 8 weeks before I got my paperwork back from US Fish and Wildlife. It is a process and everyone needs their processing time.
Debi, Fort Wainwright, AK
Posted: 6/2/2009 2:50:24 AM
Good hints! I have traveled by air with my bird. Some airline staff were very nice to him. Others made me put his crate under the seat in front of me!
Judith, Carmichael, CA
Posted: 6/1/2009 8:30:35 PM
we travel with our birds sometimes... but only to family members houses. I have never thought of even asking if birds are allowed in hotels.
Karen, edgewater Park, NJ
Posted: 6/1/2009 5:36:36 PM
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