Handling and transporting birds

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Handling birds carries a small risk of mortality, particularly with small or diseased birds or if handling is prolonged; preparation and knowledge of handling techniques are essential to mitigating this risk. Parrots, raptors and passerines have different anatomical conformations and therefore present different challenges when it comes to handling and transport; this chapter considers each group of birds separately.

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9.1 This Peregrine Falcon has been hooded and the bird is much calmer as a result.
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9.2 A padded net is invaluable for capturing escaped birds. However, caution should be exercised as there is a risk of injury to the bird.
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9.3 The head of this Budgerigar is being restrained between the thumb and first finger.
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9.4 A commercially available pet carrier, suitable for birds. Commercially available carrier for birds. There is no newspaper in this carrier, which allows for collection of urine if needed, but increases the risk of soiling. Commercially available carrier for birds. There is newspaper on the floor, but the addition of food and water containers is likely to cause mess during transit. Homemade box carrier with poor hygiene and no ventilation.
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9.5 This male Eclectus Parrot has his wings restrained by the towel and his head is controlled by the thumb and first finger.
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9.6 A towel-covered hand is used to restrain this parrot.
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9.7 This parrot has been allowed to perch on the hand but the handler’s thumb is being used to control the digits to discourage the bird from flying off.
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9.8 Catching a parrot from a pet carrier. The carrier is placed on a suitable surface and the door is opened. A second person will be required to stabilize the carrier. A towel of a suitable size is used to fill the open space. The parrot is driven to the back of the carrier and the towel used to engulf the bird, with the head being restrained first. The towel is then wrapped around the bird’s wings. The bird is then withdrawn from the carrier. The towel can then be adjusted to enable examination of the bird.
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9.9 Getting a raptor on to the glove. The handler needs to approach the bird calmly, presenting the gloved hand. The jesses are grasped between the thumb and the fingers. The bird is gently approached with the gloved hand placed under the bird’s chest. The bird should instinctively step on to the glove. The leash is then passed through the fingers and tightened to prevent the bird moving up the arm of the handler. The leash is then looped around the fingers. The bird is then securely held on the glove.
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9.10 Tail feathers can be damaged without proper protection. A tail guard, prior to attachment. A tail guard appropriately attached.
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9.11 This Martial Eagle could still inflict damage with its talons and these are being appropriately restrained.
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9.12 This Harris’ Hawk is reluctant to settle on the glove of a stranger.
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9.13 Appropriate restraint of a raptor. The feet are being restrained, the wings are protected in a blanket, and the head is being restrained.
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9.14 A restraint jacket for raptors. A Harris’ Hawk in a raptor restraint jacket.
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