With spring approaching and talk of wing clipping for your feathered family member’s preparation for summer festivities, memories of my previous experience come back to haunt me. Remy, my Timneh African Grey, is my feathered husband—and I almost lost him.
He was only a year or so old, and I was still a novice parrot parent. I had just bought a new house and was building a shed. I felt bad for Remy, having to stay inside while it was so beautiful out just because I had to work all day; it would obviously be hard to hammer on 8x4 plywood with a parrot in one hand. His wings were just clipped, and having a house in the middle of the woods; there was no wind. I placed him on his portable play stand next to me while I worked, happily whistling tunes back and fourth. I turned a corner to nail up the last board and heard a flutter whizz past me. Remy was known for trying to find me if I was out of his range of site, and in his attempt to follow me a light breeze came-- he was gone.
My initial reaction was panic, then fear and guilt. I couldn’t believe that happened to me. I began a frantic search, circling around in the woods calling for him for hours. The sun was setting, and the pit in my stomach was settling in deeper. What if I lost him forever? I couldn’t imagine a life without him.
A farting noise came from above my head—it was a juicy one. Remy the fart-noise king knew that would get my attention when he needed it most. I looked up to see a shaken, wide-eyed grey bird; lifted a stick up for him to step on and apologized to him profusely. Ten years later, we are still together. We were both very, very lucky.
Please take it to heart when I say that having your bird’s wings clipped does not mean they cannot fly away. I would not want anyone to feel what I felt, nor would I want any parrot to feel the fear I saw in Remy that day.