Skip to Main
moving birds

Moving Birds

For both birds and their owners, traveling can be an interesting and fun experience.

Before moving, while you’re Getting Organized you’ll want to check if it’s legal to take your bird to your new destination. Some states do not permit certain species. You can find out state and international regulations by visiting the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspections Services.

Prior To Moving

  • Schedule a health exam with the vet. Most states require a certificate of health signed by your veterinarian no more than 10 days prior to your move date.
  • If your bird will be traveling in a new cage, before moving day, let him become familiar with it and go on short car rides while in the cage. Make sure the carrier is large enough for your bird.
  • Some birds suffer motion sickness. If you sense your bird may need something to help with motion sickness during the upcoming journey, speak to your vet about available herbal or prescription options.
  • Keep your birds feeding, resting, playing and hygiene schedule. You may be advised by your vet to add immunity boosting vitamins, minerals and probiotics to your birds diet prior to moving.

  • Give your bird a “spa” treatment prior to moving day. Bathe him, clip his wings, his nails and his beak if necessary. His next pampering may only occur once you have reached your final destination.
  • Only pack the essentials. Items from the cage such as perches, toys and feeding equipment should be packed separately.

Traveling With Your Bird

Knowing how to Travel Safely With Your Pet is essential. Shipping your bird via UPS or FedEx is prohibited. Some birds however can be shipped via USPS.

Driving

If you will be driving long distance and staying in hotels, it is best to plan ahead and make reservations. When booking your pet friendly room, confirm it’s a non-smoking room as fumes can be harmful to your bird.

Your bird will need to stop every few hours. During these breaks, offer some food and make sure they are drinking water or having some fruit. They need to stay hydrated. Spend some quality time giving them your full attention during these breaks.

A bird should never travel loose or in the trunk of a car. If your bird will be out of the cage for any period of time, using a flight suit that has the lanyard attached will stop your bird from flying away.

In the car

  • Secure the travel carrier in the back seat using the seat belt. If your car has airbags in the front seats, never place the cage or carrier in these seats as injury to your bird could occur in the event that an airbag inflated.
  • Birds are very sensitive to heat and should be kept out of direct sunlight. You can cover the window with a special window shade. The temperature in the car should not be too cold either. Never leave birds unattended in a car.
  • Covering the cage can aid in preventing motion sickness and help to keep your bird feeling secure. Check regularly to see if your bird is doing ok.
  • Speak with your bird regularly. If they are not being covered, position them so that you are visible. This will reassure them and maintain a calm demeanor.
  • Creating a quiet and dark ambience will allow your bird to have enough sleep.

Feeding

  • Pack enough plus a little extra of your bird’s regular food and some bottled water that you know your bird will drink. It is important that you keep to your birds feeding routine while in transit. Introducing any new foods during this time may cause digestive problems.
  • It is best to feed your bird at the beginning of the day and again when you stop for the night. Most birds prefer to eat in stillness, therefore many will not eat in a moving vehicle.
  • Use one dish for his seeds/pellets and one for fresh fruit and vegetables.

Cleaning supplies

You will need to be prepared and have some cleaning supplies on hand. A few essentials are:

  • Paper towels
  • Cage liners
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Sandpaper
  • Scrub brush or old toothbrush
  • Bird safe disinfectant

First aid kit

  • Having a first aid kit on hand is always a good idea.
  • It is advised to have information should you need an avian vet en route. You can find listings at Association of Avian Veterinarians.

Flying

Regulations for birds flying on planes differ per airline. Check all requirements with your chosen companies and choose based on what will be best for your bird. Some airlines only allow birds in cargo. Loud birds and birds traveling internationally are not allowed in the cabin.

Booking nonstop flights is always advised when moving any animal, and it is the same for birds. Keeping travel times and the external stimuli that surrounds airport travel to a minimum will help your bird during this transition time.

Trimming your birds wings or placing it in a harness will stop him from flying around should a TSA agent or other person of authority require that the bird be removed from its carrier as you pass through security.

Make sure that your bird has enough seeds and fresh fruit for the duration of the journey. If he will be travelling in cargo, you will want to know he has enough food and liquids.

Toys and other objects should not be placed in the carrier with the bird, they could cause injury should any turbulence occur during the flight.

Inquire about insurance options, as they may be required when shipping by plane.

Arriving To The New Home

Once you arrive at your final destination, set up your bird’s regular cage, including any toys and perches. Place him back into his familiar surroundings and keep a calm and peaceful environment, away from the commotion of unpacking.

Continue your bird’s routine of feeding, and remember during this time of adjusting to make sure you spend time playing and talking with them. Once the new surroundings have become familiar, perhaps you can let your bird out of the cage to spread his wings and fly free.

Back to top