This was a really fun and exciting weekend. The parrots came on a flying and camping trip to Maine. We set out not too early. Shortly after takeoff, air traffic control had me fly right over the Empire State Building and cross La Guardia airport. I let the birds out and they would go from sitting on me to atop Truman's travel cage. This was the first time I have ever taken them flying together in my airplane. Prior to this it was just one at a time and on occasion. But lately I have been testing things out and making preparations for our cross country flight to Arizona in June to present our live seminar.
Cartoon depiction of Kili & Truman on their camping outing
Kili copiloting the airplane
Truman giving flying advice from my shoulder
Kili & Truman perch atop Truman's travel cage while he tries to put a shoe on
We climbed to 13,500 feet to practice high elevation flying in preparation for our upcoming trip to Arizona to present a seminar. The birds got sleepy and dozed off. Kili was out like a log in her carrier in the full turned around sleeping position. Truman took longer to fall asleep but fell into a light slumber as well. However, the birds held up just fine and I'm no longer worried about flying over the rockies with them without supplemental oxygen. My airplane isn't pressurized, so although flying lower than jetliners, the actual cabin pressure is far lower.
Truman falls asleep in his travel cage because of the low pressure but shows no discomfort
After two and a half hours flight, we arrived in Belfast, Maine. We took a quick fly over the town and landed at the municipal airport. I harnessed up the parrots in the airplane and then we walked to town. It was only a few miles each way so not a big deal. Fresh air, sun, and entertainment for the birds. Kili & Truman took turns riding my hand or shoulder.
We went to a seafood place by the water and enjoyed some Maine lobster and seafood. Although pets aren't allowed into the restaurant, Kili and Truman earned special permission for their cuteness. We took a table at the furthest end to avoid disturbing anyone. The parrots sat on a nearby fence and earned scraps of french fries and veggies from the masters' table.
Airport and town of Belfast Maine
After a tasty seafood meal, we go to check out the marina in Belfast Maine
Kili and Truman find the airplane's propeller an ideal place to perch and drop a poo before the next flight
We walked back to the airport and climbed in the plane for a very short flight over to the island of Islesboro. The airport there was quite short and desolated. One other airplane was parked there but otherwise it did not appear as though anyone had been through there in weeks. I parked the plane near a grassy patch and then proceeded to unload. I put the parrots out in their carriers to watch the tent set up process. They were just in awe how all that tent fit in such a small bag. After everything was set up, we took a walk and watched the sun set.
Upon return to the camping area, we broke out the cooler and sat down for a picnic dinner. I brought a parrot training perch for the birds to share when they were out. The two of them jealously watched the picnic set up but were treated to some bread and parrot food. It was getting dark so I put the birds into their travel cages and wrapped them with their sheet so they could have their own tent within the tent to stay warm at night. I specifically opted to cover them with one big sheet rather than separate ones so they could share their trapped heat under it.
The parrots were awakened by the calls of wild birds that they had never heard before. So they joined in with their own chatter, shrieks, and whistles. I took the parrots outside wearing their harnesses and practiced some flight recalls with them for treats. They did some but were mostly busy looking around so I didn't push it much. I let them climb around in the tree near our tent and they were thrilled. It was a lot bigger than their tree at home!
Parrots go camping in a tent by the airplane in Islesboro Maine
Kili and Truman decorate the airport sign by doing their own run up
The parrots enjoy some morning sunshine in the tent atop Truman's travel cage
Kili and Truman had a thrill climbing around a tree by the tent
We packed up the tent and loaded the plane. Before long we were airborne and enroute to Hyannis in Cape Cod Massachussets. We flew right over top Boston Logan Airport enroute and Kili got a bird's eye view of Boston.
We arrived in an hour and a half, parked the plane, and headed into town for lunch. After a pleasant walk, we found my favorite raw bar called The Raw Bar. This place is home of the biggest Lobster Roll I have ever seen. For $25 you get a Lobster Roll the size of a Cape Parrot. It's gotta have at least 3-4 lobsters worth of meat piled on it. It is virtually impossible to eat this much lobster by yourself so it's good to have someone to share it with.
I set the parrots on the chair next to me and fed them oysters. Actually they were just the cracker kind, oyster crackers. But the parrots were in paradise. They love the crunchy chewy goodness of these little baked delights and were begging for more. I gave them a chance to taste some lobster but they opted to stick to the french fries and crackers instead.
Kili gets a "bird's eye view" of Boston as we fly over Boston Logan Airport
Parrots checking out the giant Lobster Roll. And yes, it's all real lobster, no substitute!
Kili and Truman prefer fake seafood like Oyster Crackers instead
After a delightful, and somewhat overfilling, seafood lunch, we strolled around Hyannis. From all directions Kili & Truman received praise from shocked onlookers. We returned to the airport and completed the flight back to New York in record time. With a steady tailwind, I was able to bring the power back to fly at 185mph on a mere 14 gallons of gas in an hour and fifteen minutes. Coming back to New York from the northeast, we turned south and flew down the Hudson to get back home.
Map portraying our trip. Red, green, yellow, then blue. NY - Belfast - Islesboro - Hyannis - NY
Senegal Parrot flying over New York City
The trip proved a huge success and we had a lot of fun. It was a new experience for the parrots but far from overwhelming. By camping, walking, and using personal transportation we were able to avoid all issues surrounding travel with pets. We ate outside and cleaned up our own mess. Thus we were able to make the entire trip with the birds without any question of whether they'd be allowed or not. This broke up the parrots' typical routine and also got them involved in something I would normally leave them at home to do. It's a win/win for everyone. Now check out the video footage from the parrots' camping trip to Maine.
That's awesome. I especially love the photo of the two of them hanging out in the tree. If only New England had native parrots!
I live in Boston (right next to Logan airport) and grew up in NH. New England is unlike anyplace else in the US, and yeah, lobster rolls can get wicked big up north!
Thanks for another good topic to think about; bringing birds along on a vacation.
Was there anything about taking the birds on vacation that you didn't expect that happened?
I am curious about outdoor flight.
Did you have any concerns about predatory birds hurting your companions?
Can you talk about the leads your use to attach to your birds harnesses.
Your birds seemed happy in the video... Did they stess out about anything on the trip?
Nope, things pretty much went as expected. I have traveled with them before just never both at the same time. The biggest trouble I was having was that after a few hours they relaxed and went back to being themselves. So while at first they would sit on the same perch and not fight, later they got back to fighting over stuff. It was difficult keeping Kili on my shoulder and Truman on hand because Kili would run along my neck to whatever side he was on to hang off by her talons trying to attack him from above. The moment I'd switch Truman to my other hand, Kili would run across my neck again to the other side.
Yes, birds of prey are always a concern when taking parrots outside. I keep an eye out and so do the parrots. I keep them close. This is about the best I can do.
They weren't stressed much. I've taken each of them flying before and on short day trips. This is the first time they camped out overnight but what's the difference when things are dark and they are sleeping anyway? The temperature was pretty cold at night (about 40F) but that didn't seem to bother them too much either. The high altitude when flying just put them to sleep. So I think it was mostly fun and exciting for them and not particularly stressful.
That looked a lot like the old naval base in Brunswick. I am bummed I did not read about this trip before I live in Brunswick. I am glad that you had a good safe trip. It rained a TON here the other weekend I am glad you missed it.
Well that was fun, I really enjoyed your holiday movie! Looked like your birds were relaxed and happy. What a great thing for them to have different experiences & expand their horizons like that. You're so right - the more you do with your pets the more you can[/i:11br69vy] do with them.