Traveling with Your Bird
With summer upon us it's the time to plan summer vacations. If you have someone responsible to care for your bird, you may decide to vacation without your feathered friend. However, if you wish to take your feathered buddy along following some simple guidelines can make a happy and safe vacation for humans and birds.
If you are traveling by airplane, be sure and contact the airline company well in advance of your travel dates. Due to new federal regulations many airlines are refusing to allow any kind of animal on board. If you plan to place your bird in the cargo hold, you may find no airline will allow travel during hot summer months or cold winter months. If at all possible try to take your bird inside the cabin with you. Make sure your bird has a reservation just as you do and confirm this with the airline 24 hours before you plan to leave. Find out what type of carrier your particular airline requires and familiarize your bird with its travel carrier beforehand. Always book nonstop flights if at all possible. The exception would be on trips over six hours. For these try and book one stop-over so you can service your bird during the trip. Most airlines require a health certificate issued within 10 days of flight so be sure and bring all documentation with you as well as extra supplies for your bird. The bird's carrier should be well marked and tagged with all pertinent information such as flight number, destination, owner's name and address, home phone number, bird's name and schedule for food and water. You can use a permanent marker to write all information on the carrier.
Whether traveling by plane or car here are a few tips to make your bird's vacation easier. Be sure and bring a cover for the carrier or travel cage. This will allow your bird a sense of security if necessary when traveling and a night cover in the hotel room. Be sure and strap your bird's cage or carrier into a seat belt away from air bags in a car. Bring a small play gym or attach-a-perch for the top of his cage or carrier for out time in your hotel room (under supervision only). If traveling by car be sure there are not any toys that can swing and hit your bird as you travel. If necessary remove such toys until you are checked safely into your hotel room. Just as some people birds can become airsick or suffer from motion sickness. Fresh ginger root can help prevent motion sickness in most birds. Be sure your bird is familiar with ginger before the trip. Also place a few moist foods such as sliced orange pieces, grapes or apple inside the carrier for your bird rather than an open dish of water. If you make your hotel reservations before leaving on your trip, be sure they allow pets. Take extra newspapers or a sheet to place under your bird's cage at the hotel. Bring paper towels for cleaning up any messes and even a small hand held vacuum will help you keep your hotel room nice and clean. Don't forget a bird first aid kit and a list of avian vets in the area you will be staying. Bring drinking water for your bird from home or bottled water your bird is used to. Pack all the bird's food together. Baby wipes are great to have along. Bring a spray bottle for cleanup and at least one cleanup cloth. Don't forget a supply of plastic garbage bags also. Don't pour your bird's water dish into hotel sinks if there is food or seed in the water. Dump them into your garbage bags instead. You may want to do your own cleaning of your hotel room to avoid any cleaning fumes. Be aware also that some hotels in humid, hot vacation areas spray for bugs on a regular basis. Ask beforehand if your hotel does this. You may need to air out your room once you arrive to make it bird safe. If you take care to keep your hotel room clean from bird debris you will leave a positive message with the management for the next bird traveler.
Never, never leave your bird unattended in a car for even a few minutes. Someone should stay in the car with the bird any time you must stop or if necessary take the bird with you. Try to leave your bird alone in your hotel room as little as possible. Use the "DO NOT DISTURB" sign at all times your bird is in your room alone and don't forget to have your bird feather clipped before your trip.
Most of all enjoy your vacation and enjoy having your feathered