Surely you’ve experienced Steve Martin’s Happy Feet routine, or seen either of the animated movies of the same name. For parrots, Happy Wings means uncontrolled flapping without actually flying. I notice my birds tend to get a good case of Happy Wings now and again. It’s an excellent way to get attention.
Baby lovebird Fin gets Happy Wings regularly, but he’s just mastered the art of flying. He’s about to master the art of Hell, No, when I want him to stay put or come back to me. Which means, against my usual preferences, we will be clipping his Happy Wings today. And he will be going to his new home with Dad Paul and Brother Rio. Hope to stay in touch with Fin’s progress, and find out what his new name will be. Plied Paul with beer the other day, but he didn’t let on.
The cockatiels usually get Happy Wings early in the morning or late at night, or sometime in between. They also usually hang upside down to flap wildly. They love to wait until I have finished vacuuming the rug under the cages. Then they let loose and spread down and flight feathers and seed hulls all over the room.
Maynard, on the other hand, must have been vaccinated against Happy Wings. He may not even know he can fly. He will flutter all his feathers at once, something we call a kerfluffle, but he doesn’t hold on to a perch and flap for all he’s worth.
Our prize for the Happiest Happy Wings has to go to Wraith, our male Indian Ringneck Parakeet. He’s liable to flap at any time of the day, but he really prefers a human audience. If we are sitting in our chairs near his cage, he will hang on the side of the cage closest to us and flap up to hurricane speeds. His other trick is to hang on the side of his sleep tent and flap until it’s swinging across the cage and back. His tent is also his current love interest, but that probably won’t be a subject for this blog.
What about us?
Why do pet birds do this? I haven’t seen similar activity in wild birds, but I haven’t spent as much time observing them as I have the ones in my home. According to Lefaber: Flapping Wings Birds often hold on tight to the perch and flap their wings madly as if wanting to take off in flight. They do this for exercise and when they’re happy, and it can also be part of breeding behavior. http://lafeber.com/pet-birds/bird-behavior/
I guess I just have a lot of happy birds. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.