is it common practice to remove flight feathers surgically in macaws?

by Nick
(Aloha, Oregon, USA)

I have a 7 year old macaw that I aquired recently. I was told at the time that I brought her home that her flight feathers had been surgically removed and that she couldnt fly. I have limited experience with birds that have had their feathers clipped, but after watching her flap her wings as she does sometimes, her wings appear to be normal. They look exactly like ones of birds that can readily fly. She does not seem to be able to fly, but I dont see any reason why she couldnt. Is there some surgical procedure that renders flight improbable, but still leaves the wings looking normal, or were they pulling my leg.

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Sep 01, 2011
I will get pics as soon as she decides to flap around again.
by: Nick

Next time she gets into her flapping exercises I will take pictures of her open wings. I seriously doubt that she would willingly allow me to spread her wings out to get pictures. I doubt that she has had any of the tendons cut since when she flaps her wings while on top of her cage or play stand she generates enough wind to blow papers off the table across the room. I have a tendency to think that she could fly if she put her mind to it, I am just not sure. Till then, I will continue to work on improving her diet, and her general overall health which has been a bit of a challenge. The people that had her before me had her on the WalMart seed diet and complained that her feathers always looked desheveled. She seems to be doing better, her feathers look better, her energy level has definitly improved, and seems to be getting healthier all the time.

Thanks, Nick

Sep 01, 2011
Procedure to keep birds from flying
by: The Avian Vet

Yes, there is a procedure that involves cutting certain tendons to prevent flight, but I know of no veterinarian with ethics that would allow them to do it. Does she have all of her wing feathers on both sides? Can you send me pictures?

Dr B

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