Our Views about Wing-clipping Our
As owners of this website, we have chosen
to share our experiences and opinions on
these webpages. We present this info "as
is", and we shall have no liablility
to anyone regarding any circumstance or
occurrence related to the starling(s) or
other birds in their care. It is each starling
owner's responsibility to make the best
choices for the diet, safety, health, care
and wellbeing of his or her own starling.
bird's body was designed for flight. Flight
not only provides a bird with mobility,
it also offers a bird physical benefits.
It excercises and strengthens muscles, improves
respiratory function, strengthens the heart,
keeps the body in overall good shape. In
addition, we believe the exercise that occurs
during flight gives a pet bird a sense of
wellbeing and results in a less stressed
bird. Pet starlings who do not get enough
exercise may develop problems such as obesity,
loss of muscle mass, behavioral issues,
and more. Despite this common knowledge,
some "parrot behavior specialists"
say that wing-clipping should be done on
ALL pet birds in order to keep these birds
"happy". Using such a statement
in reference to European starlings reveals
ignorance about this species.
mentioned above, we know that flight helps
keep our starlings in good shape physically
and emotionally. Below are several additional
reasons we are very strongly opposed to
wing-clipping Stormy, Sunshine, and Shadow.
have found no facts or research proving
that wing-clipping benefits a starling. In fact, based on reasons given by
some who wing-clip their starlings, we have
come to suspect that clipping benefits the
owners instead of the birds! Some
pretexts we have gathered from starling
owners who wing-clip include: "my bird
is less trouble since I clipped its wings";
"my clipped starling is easier to put
back in its cage"; "I don't have
to chase it to catch it"; "it
cannot fly onto my head or mess up my furniture
anymore". Note that there was no mention
of how their birds benefitted from
having their mobility and independence taken
away. (We have known of several pet starlings
who appeared depressed after being wing-clipped
and who refused to come out of their cages.)
provides a starling with a means of defense.
The starling's main defense is its ability
to fly and get out of a predator's way.
Some other species of birds (such as woodpeckers,
parrots, and others) have the ability to
climb, giving them an added defense when
in danger. Starlings do not climb and become
generally grounded if wing-clipped.
expound ....... starlings (and other birds
in the order Passeriformes; often called
"perching birds") have feet that
are perfectly suited to perching. A starling's
foot has three toes facing forward and one
toe facing backward, and the hind toe allows
these perching birds to securely grasp perch
surfaces. However, this type of avian foot
is not conducive to climbing. Some other
types of birds (for example: parrots and
other birds in the order Psittaciformes)
have two toes facing forward and two toes
facing backward. This type of foot enables
these birds to climb very well, leaving
them with some mobility if wing-clipped.
starlings do not climb, flying is the only
means they have of escaping dangers everywhere
around them. A fully flighted starling has
less chance of being stepped on in the home
or being caught by a companion animal. Clipping
a starling's wings leaves it defenseless
and feeling vulnerable, and this could easily
cause the bird severe mental stress as well
as resulting in physical harm, regardless
of arguments to the contrary by wing-clipping
advocates!" - (
Jackie Collins, 2000)
flighted starling can still be trained and
handled. Some starling owners promote wing-clipping
simply for the purpose of making starlings
"easier to work with" and more
dependent on them. That is merely a cop-out,
in our opinion. Although it may take more
effort at times, we have no trouble working
with our fully flighted starlings or having
training sessions with them.
realize that wing-clipping is a controversial
issue, which is often debated among starling
owners. This webpage was created to offer
our personal point of view about the issue
with regards to our own birds. Every starling
owner must make his or her own decision
whether to clip his or her bird's wings.
give our starlings regular flight time out
of their cages so that they can use their
wings for the purpose they were intended
and so they will stay in top physical shape.
There is nothing quite like watching the
enthusiasm with which a starling flies.
Our birds revel in exercising their beautiful
wings and in the freedom they have to fly
back and forth to their favorite persons.
When let out of their cages, they zoom around
the room almost gleefully, circling, diving,
darting, and even hovering at times. It
thrills us to watch their enjoyment. We
know that flight contributes to keeping
them healthy, muscular, well-adjusted. There
is absolutely no question that our own three
starlings need and enjoy
their indoor free flight times.
them safe when flying free. - Because
starlings have a tendency to get into everything,
a room must be checked for safety before
a starling is let out in it. (Read our Common
Household Dangerspage.) When
they are having free flight in the house,
we supervise our starlings as we would a
small toddler in our home, and we never
leave them alone!
we DO NOT let our starlings fly outside.
- We allow our starlings free flight indoors
only. Our rescued starlings are "human
imprinted birds", and such birds have
little chance of surviving outdoors. We
know of imprinted pet starlings who were
injured, killed, or lost when their owners
"let" them fly outside -- because
these birds had no survival skills, several
were caught by hawks or dogs, and others
simply flew away in a panic and became lost,
never to return. We choose to take no such
risks with our birds, thus their free flight
is restricted to inside our home.
We have been asked about flightsuits recently. -- We do not put flightsuits (with bird diapers in them) on any of our birds. We realize that this product is widely advertised by pet stores and pet catalogs, and we even know people who have used them with hookbills. However, it is our opinion that flightsuits/bird diapers were created merely for the convenience of bird owners, and we have found NO evidence that such a product would positively benefit our birds.
In our home, our birds' free flight time is meant to be a time of freedom and enjoyment for them, not a time for them to dread being forced into flightsuits. We know our own starlings well enough to know that subjecting them to the discomfort and restrictiveness of wearing such a product would adversely affect their trust in us, would stress them to no end, and would raise the possibility of them developing injury or a health issue.
We cannot comprehend the mindset that "pet bird droppings are a problem that can only be solved by sticking a bird into a flightsuit with a diaper in it". Furthermore, we have no idea why anyone who is so offended by the thought of bird droppings in their home would even own a bird in the first place.
We have had birds for over three decades and have found a number of ways to easily deal with bird droppings in our home: We cover certain furniture with old sheets, use baby wipes (or similar products) to swipe up droppings, wear an old button down shirt over a regular shirt when birds are having "out of cage" time, wear a baseball cap or a hat to protect hair, vacuum/sweep floors daily to remove any droppings we missed, keep birds OUT of rooms that have our most expensive items in them, etc.
Starling owners who are repulsed by bird droppings are certainly free to choose to put flightsuits/diapers on their birds, however we choose not to promote the product on our website or encourage its use for pet starlings.
you are interested in learning more details
about birds' wings and the dynamics of flight
in birds, peruse the links below. Flight
in birds is a fascinating subject!
Flight - How Birds Fly
wonderful animations illustrating exactly
'how' birds fly. Bird
Description and illustration of flight muscles
and wing anatomy. Info about flapping flight. Flight
with info detailing the dynamics of flight
in birds Discusses soaring, flight control,
landing, flight speed, and more. Birds
in Flight photographs
Absolutely stunning collection of
high quality photographs of various birds
in flight. A MUST SEE webpage for bird enthusiast!