The Benefits of Flight

At this time, there are strongly held views on whether to clip the wings of your companion bird, or leave it flighted. Proponents of wing clipping feel that birds in captivity are better off clipped, as flying puts the bird at risk:  For example, a flying bird may escape through an open door or window, or fly into harm in the house.  Yet, opponents to wing clipping believe it is a form of abuse.  Consider the following:

  • Birds are creatures designed around the act of flight.   This fact is undeniable.  Step outside, look up at the sky, and you will see birds in flight.  Physically, this is what birds do, and to remain healthy, this is what they should do, as there is no exercise in captivity that serves as an acceptable substitute.
  • How does the act of flight help keep my bird healthy?  To answer this question, one must first understand how the act of flight, and the fact of being a bird, are related.  The bones of a bird are thin, and some have air sacs.  The internal organs of a bird are abbreviated, designed to keep a bird light, and comfortable while airborne.  The respiratory system of a bird is complex; it extracts oxygen from the air as it inhales, and exhales, and in addition to lungs, it has air sacs extending throughout its body, to keep the birds blood oxygenated during the rigorous exercise of flight.

The digestive system of a bird is composed of not one stomach, but three:  the holding tank of the crop, the glandular stomach called the proventriculus, and the muscular stomach, called the ventriculus, or gizzard.  These systems all work to keep a bird unburdened by food in its digestive tract as it performs the act of flight.

When a bird is involved in flight, even short flights, its body is performing in the way it was designed to perform.  Physically, the bir