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Airline Travel with Your Bird

ASPCA, Companion Animal Services

  • Five to seven days prior to a flight take your bird for a veterinary check-up and ask the veterinarian to issue a health certificate. It is a good idea to have the bird’s wings clipped as a precautionary measure, in case the bird escapes.
  • Photo Credit: Thinkstock

    If at all possible, reserve a direct, non-stop flight for your bird.

  • Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate. Size is important! The crate must be large enough so that the bird can stand up comfortably, but it should also limit movement so the bird cannot flap his wings and injure himself.
  • Write the words “LIVE ANIMAL” in letters no smaller than 1-inch high on the top and sides of the crate. Use arrows to indicate the upright position of the crate.
  • On the top of the crate, write the name, address and telephone number of the bird’s point of origin and destination in non-erasable ink.
  • Line the crate with hay (available at most pet supply stores), and scatter dry seeds throughout the hay. Place pieces of juicy fruits (such as apples, oranges, and pears) on top of the hay.
  • For international flights, you must use shredded, non-toxic paper (such as brown food wrapping paper) instead of hay.
  • When shipping in cool weather, place burlap or cloth on the open-end of the crate to prevent drafts.
  • We recommend that only canaries and finches travel with a perch.
  • Do not lock the door of the crate. Make sure it is securely closed but not locked so that airline personnel can open the crate in an emergency.
  • Upon arrival at his destination, keep the bird in a calm, quiet area and give him time to adjust to the new environment.
  • Wishing your bird a safe and comfortable journey!

    Courtesy of ASPCA National Shelter Outreach
    424 E. 92nd Street, New York, NY 10128
    ASPCA National Shelter Outreach
    © 2000 ASPCA

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