How Can We Slow Our Cockatiel’s Flight?

How Can We Slow Our Cockatiel’s Flight?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Scott S. is unsure about free flight (sort of):

Hi folks: My question: is there a “best way” to transition our flighted, little shy of three-year-old ‘Tiel to a quasi-free flight environment (inside a screened lanai).

Buddy is desperate to be with the rest of the flock out on the lanai, he flies and hovers by the door trying to find a way out to us.

Our other “fids” (Feathered Kids) have been great in the lanai but we’ve been “birding” since 1982 and we’ve never had a faster ‘Tiel…he’s a rocket and we’re afraid he may hurt himself if he hits a screen at full boogie.

Any thoughts?

Thank you much! Scott

First a couple of notes for our readers.


Cockatiel’s are one of the fastest flying psittacines, capable of achieving speeds of over 30 mph in a short distance.

Birds like Quakers and Senegal’s are chunky slow-moving flyers.

I once calculated our Senegal’s flight at about 6 miles an hour during a training session as a counterpoint to a cockatiel’s flight speed.



To answer your question, Scott, we need to factor in a few dimensions.


You can do a mild wing clip which will slow the bird down but cockatiel’s flight feathers can grow back in about 30 days (about four minutes for budgies) as opposed to two or three months for a Quaker.


We’ve learned this from the birds currently under our roof.


Thus before you know it Buddy is trying to break the sound barrier again.


The good news is that screened lanais are just that, screened.


The impact a bird sustains flying into a screen is far less than that of a window and probably pretty benign.


My bigger concern would be small rips or tears in the screen material that a bird could easily bite through and slip out of.


Birds have a high flicker fusion rate so it is easier for a bird to discern a vertical surface like a screen much easier than a glass window which in most cases looks like “the sky”.


We are in the process of trying to teach our African ringneck, Quaker, and cockatiel how to make a flying commute between the upstairs home cages in their downstairs work cages.


The Keto Kommute


One challenge especially for Barney our recently rescued cockatiel is the window above the landing where the staircase makes a 180-degree turn.


Barney has no problem doing a victory lap once on the second level after seeing the top of the stairs but he is still not understanding the U-turn of the staircase.




We enjoy the light that falls through it but in order to discourage Barney from flying into the glass, it has been adorned with dream catchers which we hope will eventually solve the problem.


My point is I advocate for some “trailing plants” along the screen walls of the lanai to obfuscate outside distractions.



I’m guessing because you have the other flighted birds there are already landing zones consisting of perches and/or play stands?


With supervision, patience, and training Buddy to look for specific landing zones, I think he will be fine fully flighted in the lanai.


Stay safe




Follow-up from Scott:


Hello Mitch:


I think you’re definitely on the right track and thank you for the great response!


Lanais are huge here in Florida and I think there will be many of your followers that will find your article very helpful.


We plan to start bringing Buddy out at or near dusk initially then gradually starting to bring him out earlier as hanging with his flock becomes more routine.


Buddy is a rambunctious almost 3 yo Gray male, he’s learned hard lessons about the immovability of windows early on and he’s none the worse for wear.


Thanks again and regards.




John Hannibal smaith and Mr. T - I love it when a plan comes to gether"


Update from Scott S. 12/16/2020


Hello Mitch:


Just a follow-up from earlier in the thread, we did take our Buddy out on our lanai and in all reality it’s couldn’t have been a smoother transition.


To recap, he wanted very badly to be with his flock out on the lanai, he would fly to and perch on the frame of the window closest to us.


I improvised a perch on that window frame that he could more comfortably perch.


When Buddy is indoors but out of his cage, he usually perched on a Manzanita tree about 20 inches high located on top of his cage.


The tree has numerous toys and opportunities for him to forage for food…it’s his “go-to”.


Last Sunday afternoon we just took his tree out onto the lanai, set it by us, and brought Buddy out: OMG, have you ever seen a Cockatiel turn inside out?


He got into unfiltered light, the breeze, and the sound of a waterfall…wait, gotta preen, no, gotta sing and do pretty eagles, no, gotta eat but wait I haven’t preened and sang:


Mitch, he went nuts!


Yesterday he started taking a bath on his tree, we believe that he was communicating what he wanted as there was no rain or etc (Sam, our Eleanora ‘Too will hang off the side of her cage, fluffed out with wings open) to let us know she wants a bath.


Buddy’s bath concluded on the top of my wife’s head (yes, we have video).


Buddy has taken a few excursions out into the lanai with no issues at all.


I think the takeaway is familiarity (having a play top, tree, etc.) and having the flock nearby.


We also started bringing him out in the late afternoon so that we could use the waning light to round him back up if he started enjoying the situation too much.


Buddy is an amazing and beautiful ‘Tiel as well, best in show winner two years ago at the ACS show in Orlando.


If you know anyone looking for a reputable breeder in Florida


Please feel free to use any/all of the above as you wish. Please reply with any questions that you may have.


Yo…heeey, anyone here from out of town? I’ll be here all week…BTW try the prime rib 😉


Thanks and regards:


Scott S.

Follow up – Scott and Buddy


MitchR replied:

Great news Scott,

Yes, I’ve seen happy cockatiels, we’ve had 2 and still provide Barney with food and his own cage as long he keeps rent payments current. 

You nailed it with “I think the takeaway is familiarity (having a playtop, tree, etc.) and having the flock nearby. We also started bringing him out in the late afternoon so that we could use the waning light to round him back up of he started enjoying the situation too much.”

Prime rib is always a draw, I prefer horseradish sauce with mine.

Thanx for the update


Would love to see the video


Do you ride a Ducati motorcycle?


Hello Mitch:

Buddy being so well socialized is such a boon to the safe transition to “outdoors” for him.


I used to competitively speed skate and Buddy is like the kids on the team, all HP and not so much chassis…hence the reason for our initial worry.


Ducatis? Yessir:
’74 860 GT (bare frame resto)
’99 ST4 (my wife’s first bike) was set up by Trackside Engineering in WI…superb!
‘2000 996 Monoposto (my first bike and first resto).
’15 Multistrada 1200 S Touring (daily rider).
’15 899 Panagale (track bike, Blackhawk Farms, and RA before we moved).


You’re a Triumph guy if I recall. Buddy of mine in WI is a major Brit bike collector (70 odd vintage bikes). Let me know if you have any Triumph, Norton, BSA, Matchless, etc. questions.


Unless it’s perfect au jus I’d agree 🙂




MitchR replied:


That collection is impressive my friend.


I’m not an old school Triumph buff.


In 1998 the Hinckley factory was 1/2 burned to the ground.


When they came back online as literally the most modern motorbike production facility on planet earth in 2002.



With their newfound superpowers, they created the Rocket 3.


I bought this ’09 Classic in March of 2010 from a dealer who was on the verge of bankruptcy and needed to dump inventory (timing is everything).


I got it for cost, $6000 below MSRP so I added some chrome.


3 cylinder, water-cooled – 140 cubes – 157 fp of torque @ 1800 RPM.


All-aluminum engine 715 lbs dry.


Tranny and shaft drive made by Maserati.


10 years later it still intimidates me.


2 years ago I took it into Motorworks in Chicago who is a Ducati dealer, I’ve been a customer since 2004.


Send your buddy the link he’ll be impressed with their used inventory.


I’ve been at meets with Johnny (the owner) where he’d show up with a 1923 BMW complete with sidecar – I won’t go down that rabbit hole.


Just wanted the 20,000-mile SPEC maintenance and tires.


I had picked a pair out.


Fred the manager says “have we got a deal for you.”


The rear tire is a 750 – his deal was both tires installed with a 2 warranty and towing from anywhere – $700.


I sensed they fu*ked up the contract because we’re heading in week 2 when after some discussion, they gave me a loaner.


A 2017 Diaval – my review.


Which is my only relationship with Ducati except for the single banger Ducati 400 I road in the summer of 1970 (I’m 68).


I don’t remember its demise.


Pivoting I also have a 77 KZ 1000 that I bought in 03.


I’ve got 3 times in it what the bikes are worth but you know how that goes.


I gave it to a good friend whose been a custom bike builder for 20 years (his shop is 20 minutes from our new place in Lowell.


Long and short of it.


Bobber – single seat and a few mechanical changes shown made during build discussion.


High lights – all new LED lighting.


– rear tire goes from a 130 to a 150.


Firetruck red rims with whitewall tires – frame off – dropping 30 or 40 pounds of metal – you get the idea.


Caveat: this is a blog post talking about my 3200 miles round trip in six days on the Rocket dovetailing with my love of a cockatiel


The moral of the story is you can’t have enough motorcycles or firearms.


Once again awe-inspiring collection.




Thanks for the kudos on the bikes, appreciated it!

I had no idea of what the new Triumphs were all about, what you’re saying is impressive.

Your Classic looks comfy to be sure, I’ll have to forward this thread to a friend of our back up in WI who is looking for a new bike, his current ride is a Suzuki C90 Boulevard.

They were down last year and Ken rode my wife’s ’14 BMW R1200 RT.

He really liked it but he said that he’d prefer slightly lower seat height, the Classic might be the ticket.

It’s funny, Ross Bennet the sales guy at Ducati Milwaukee rides a Street Triple.

I had a similar kinda deal on my ’15 Strada, Duc Milwaukee wasn’t going out of business but they wanted to move their demo, ’15 Strada.

I test rode it in ’15 and loved it, bought it in August of ’16 for basically 47000 off MSRP, the caveat was that Joe Meinerz the owner of Duc Milwaukee is a racer (CCS) and he’s fast.

He broke my Strada in at Road America pretty much right out of the box.

It really didn’t do it any harm save for some hard spots in the front rotors that cause a bit of pulsation.

I’m vacillating on the purchase of a ’68 Ducati Mach 1 from the guy up in Citra FL I bought the H1 from but my buzzkill wife says I have to sell one first, probably be the 899 Panagale as the nearest track here is Jennings, most of 4 hours away, distance is a pain and I don’t have anyone to ride track days with here.

A friend of ours from NC says that if you know offhand how many guns (or bikes ) you have, you don’t have enough J


Scott was kind enough to forward some content:


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