Wing Clipping Video and Bird Nail Trimming Challenges
Wing Clipping Video and Bird Nail Trimming Challenges

Wing Clipping Video and Bird Nail Trimming Challenges

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman


While doing some housekeeping on, we came across some broken links in the Hagen bird food listings. The H.A.R.I. (Hagen Avicultural Research Institute) site had been reorganized causing several links to break, which are now fixed

Mark Hagen talks about avian nutrition

Research Papers

Nutrition Expert Panel Review

Information Sheets from the Vet



It was interesting reviewing the links and a new video that had been added – the Hagen How to Groom Flight Feathers below. One of the tips mentioned – birds should learn to fly and land before the first wing clipping. Another was not to trim a young bird’s nails AND wings at the same time because it may reduce their confidence. What I really like about the video is the close ups of precisely where to cut the feathers on the bird’s wings.

Should you keep your bird flighted? I think it’s an argument that will last for a while. Greg Glendell is a strong advocate for keeping birds flighted. He lays out his case and starts with “So, ALL birds are subject to risks in the home, whether they are flighted or not: clipped birds are just subjected to *different* risks than those of flighted birds. Generally, wing-clipping is done for owner-convenience, rather than bird ‘welfare’ Read the rest of Keeping birds flighted here.

Our take on the issue? Keep your bird flighted but give them flying lessons with an Aviator Harness.

You can also give them flying lessons at home. Teach them boundaries in and around your home. Have your bird step up onto your hand, walk a few paces from his bird cage and “launch” him so he makes a couple of wing flaps and learns where to land on the cage. When we did this with Sunshine, our Indian Ringneck. The first couple of landings were rough, he tried to land on the side of the cage meaning he basically used his chest to cushion the landing. 

On the third try I held my hand higher. He gauged it right and made to to the Play top perch. A couple of more launches and he knew to always land on runway “2 niner”. Within a week he could flap his way back to the play top perch from any place in the apartment..

Does this make it right for your bird? Not necessarily. You may be in a small house or apartment with lots of (confusing) windows. You may have other animals you don’t want riled up. If that’s the case, clip the wings. It’s not as hard as you think.

Bird’s nails are another issue. When they’re too long , they can be quite annoying. You can’t get release from your clothing. Bird’s nail can be painful on your skin too. A grooming perch belongs in every bird cage. Just don’t let your bird sleep on it, it could hurt his feet

We prefer to place a grooming perch, inside the bird cage door. The thinking goes like this:


When it’s time for your bird to come out of the bird cage, you open the cage door. Your bird comes down to he grooming perch and does a happy dance, on the grooming perch. Manicure time!

If a grooming perch isn’t keeping your bird’s nails short, they’ll require trimming. You can use a bird nail trimming clipper. The problem with clippers is you’re always guessing wher the quick is. When you cut close too the quick, your bird bleeds – solution?

Trim them with a rotary bird nail trimmer. We feel it’s far more humane for the bird and we embedded a “how-to” video so you’ll get comfortable with the process. The hardest part is restraining your bird. This is typically done with a towel. “Toweling” a bird is a good procedure to know – it can come in handy in an emergency too. In any case it’s a good procedure to practice, if you have a parrot. Find instructions on how to towel a bird, here 

Until next timeCatherine Tobsing
Windy City Parrot, Inc.

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