Macaw owners share bird's-eye view of free flying hobby


Wan Haiman, pictured with his Red Winged Macaw named Phoenix, says he will only let the bird fly free when he is sure it is fully trained to return. – BERNAMApic

KOTA BARU: There is no feeling like releasing birds to fly freely and having them return to your hand, according to a group of macaw owners from the Kelantan Free Fly Community group.

The head of the group, Tuan Mohd Azrin Tuan Ariffin, said free flying required intensive training and great discipline to ensure that the birds return to their owners.

Tuan Mohd Azrin, who owns two-year-old and five-month-old Blue and Gold Macaws, said the birds are taught to associate their names with the sound of his voice.

"There is no doubt that parrots are among the world's most intelligent birds and can even imitate their owner's voice or any sound they hear constantly.

"For example, my own parrot 'Bonny' can be released to fly freely and come back when it hears its name called.

"Another way is to bait it with food in the hand," he said when met near Kampung Seribong here on Sunday (May 28).

Another owner, Wan Haiman Rusdan Wan Hussin, who owns a Red Winged Macaw, said free flying does have its risks as birds may get lost or even stolen.

Wan Haiman Rusdan said that if a bird is not properly trained, it will definitely result in losses to the owner because some species can fetch over RM100,000.

"I myself have a crossbreed bought from a breeder worth RM25,000 and it is now six months old.

"I will make sure that my bird, 'Phoenix', is well-trained before I attempt free flying," he said.

As for Rosli Abdullah, he said the process of looking after parrots is quite complicated because it is important to maintain their health with the right diet consisting of broccoli, mustard seeds, pumpkin, mango and papaya, as well as legumes.

"What is important is that the talons and feathers must always be clean.

"Parrots in cages may bite the feathers on their wings until they fall off, making it difficult for them to fly," he said. – Bernama

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