Travel Carriers are essential for transporting birds in any kind of vehicle. A carrier does not have to be as large as your bird's cage, but it should be as large as your budget allows and provide enough space for your bird to stretch and move around. A travel carrier should be large enough to provide for a perch, food/water dishes and a toy.
Setting Up the Travel Carrier. Choose a perch that will provide secure footing for your bird ... avoid smooth surfaces. A perch should be installed toward the front of the carrier so if your vehicle stops suddenly your pet won't be thrown to the front of the carrier, but rather will just lean forward to grab hold of the carrier. When choosing a toy for a carrier select one that is made of wood or a soft material rather than acrylic or metal. This will prevent injury to your bird and unwelcome noise for you if it clangs against the carrier. A preening type toy may be the best choice and one that doesn't swing about in the cage.
Getting Ready to Go. Your bird should be acclimated to his carrier in advance of your trip. Once that's been accomplished it's advisable to try a few short excursions to prepare for longer trips. It will give you the opportunity to see how well your bird will travel before you head out for a vacation. When it's time to travel, place the carrier in a level position in the back seat of your car and secure with seat belts or safety straps. Like children, a bird in a travel carrier placed in the front seat could be vulnerable to injury if an accident were to deploy the air bags. Securing a travel carrier in larger vehicles like SUV's and recreational vehicles is also a must-do.
Be sure to bring along an adequate food and water supply, including some of your pet's favorite treats. Small or medium plastic Lixit Water Bottles are highly recommended to provide water in a carrier. On extended travels most birds will need out-of-cage time, so a portable play gym is a good thing to have along. And don't forget a cover for the carrier when it's time to sleep and cleaning supplies. Keeping to your bird's routine will make the trip enjoyable for all. Remember, if you become stressed so will your bird.
Before vacation departure day arrives have your birds health checked by your vet. It's also good to groom your bird ... nails and beak trim, and a bath. Also, very importantly ... it is essential to trim the wings of any bird taken out of your home. There is just too much risk that a bird will take flight when frightened or excited ... even for those "perch potatoes" that you believe would never want or be able to fly. There are just too many sad stories of shocked owners that never thought their bird would or could fly to take the risk of traveling with a bird that hasn't had his wings trimmed. It only takes one opportunity to fly to lose a cherished pet.
Always Keep Safety In Mind. Keep your bird in it's carrier while your vehicle is in motion. Climate and altitude can affect your pet so knowledge of weather conditions in advance can help avoid disaster from unexpected exposure from summer heat and winter cold.
It's best to avoid crowds and you should never let your bird out of your sight.
Be aware of the regulations of the states or countries you plan to visit. Call local state or customs departments for up-to-date information. If you plan to stay in motels or hotels check with them in advance to be sure they allow pets.
Bring along phone numbers for your avian vet and have access to contact information for local vets throughout your trip.
Due to illegal parrot smuggling it is crucial to carry proof of ownership when traveling in the southwestern states bordering Mexico, to protect yourself as well as your bird. Carry copies of documents such as proof of ownership, breeder's name/address, sales receipt and medical records is recommended. I've taken a further step as proof of ownership. I've had all my birds microchipped as ultimate proof of identification. Although a microchip reader is necessary to access this information it is a further safeguard I chose for my birds. In making extended trips with my birds I carry along a portfolio of the information I've suggested. The chance that you'll find yourself in a position to need this documentation is slim; however, the information would prove invaluable in case of an emergency.