If you are traveling with a bird within the United States, make an appointment with your avian veterinarian ahead of time to make sure that your bird is healthy and to procure a health certificate, which is required by for air travel and travel across state lines.
- Notify the airlines as soon as your travel plans are decided, as most airlines only allow one or two pets per cabin stowed under the seat in an approved carrier. These spaces fill up quickly. Some airlines do not allow any pets in the cabin at all, so that must be taken into consideration when booking flights.
- Avoid having your bird travel in the cargo hold of planes. Although the section for animals is pressurized, climate-controlled and contains breathable air, it is safer to keep your bird with you, under your seat, so you can keep control of its safety.
- Most birds will not eat or drink much while flying or traveling, so heap lots of food items in their carrier for the trip. A few pieces of cut-up orange or apple are often all they need for a trip, which will provide them with sugars, liquid and some fiber. Once you reach your destination, you can offer them their regular diet. Bring some bottled water for your bird to drink, as a change in local water may cause an upset.
- Bring its normal foods so it will have familiar food items to eat.
- Practice the same precautions for biosecurity that you would normally follow at home. Don’t take your birds into areas where other birds are housed, and if you do handle any other birds, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands before handling your bird.
- While birds cannot catch a “cold” or respiratory infection from a draft or from being chilled, the stress of travel and change of temperature and humidity may predispose a bird to acquiring an infection. Make sure your bird to have a clean bill of health prior to traveling, so that any subclinical illnesses can be identified and treated before the trip.
- Keep your birds indoors and away from any exposure to wild birds, bird droppings or any other bird-related items.
Safe Travel Without Your Bird
When traveling to foreign countries (without your birds):