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22-Yr-Old Parrot Overcomes His Fear And Learns To Fly… For The First Time!

parrot learns to fly

When Harley the blue and gold macaw came to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, he had lived all 21 of his years without knowing the gift of flight. Harley came to the zoo from a private owner, and while in their care he had never been given the opportunity to fly, and simply never learned how. Until now. 

harley's first flight

Harley had a long journey before he could accomplish the amazing aerial feats he can today! You see, when an owner clips a bird’s wings, not only do they never learn to fly but they also do not use their wings much. This disuse leads the muscles in their wings to atrophy. 

Zookeepers not only had to help Harley learn how to fly but also build up the muscles in his wings beforehand! They started the process by having him move from one perch to another, and slowly stretching the length between the two perches, requiring him to use his wings to try and stabilize himself. 

harley flight training

After a several months-long process, Harley finally achieved his first-ever flight in September of 2022.

But Harley didn’t stop there, in the year since his first flight Harley has grown increasingly more confident and skilled in his flights. He can fly longer distances than ever and even participates in education programs for schools and guests! His confidence and success can be credited to the dedicated and positive work with his zookeepers. 

harley flies in program

Harley is a wonderful example that it doesn’t matter how long it takes you, you can still achieve your goals. It took Harley over 20 years to learn the thing most birds learn as soon as they grow feathers. But with the support and encouragement of those around him, he was able to overcome those barriers and take to the skies. 

We can all take a few notes from that kind of bravery. 

You can see Harley’s amazing progress in the zoo’s latest update below:

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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