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Any suggestions for how to transport a cockatiel bird across a city in a car ride? The bird will occasionally relocate from one home to another every few months.

If we had a bird cage already established in each home, how could we easily move the bird back and forth? Any suggestion for an inexpensive compact simple container to get the bird from cage to car to other cage?

Also tips for coaxing/moving the bird between cage and container would be good. This bird is tame enough to enjoy a thorough neck massage between a pair of fingers, but is not otherwise trained.

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You've got a few choices. You can do a search on Amazon for "bird carrier." They tend to be a bit pricey but are built specifically for birds.

Alternatively, you can go buy a small animal carrier or the smallest cat carrier you can find. Ideally it should be a hard carrier so you can seat-belt it into the car. Buy a rope perch, or any kind of perch that you can force the ends through the sides. The goal is a sturdy container with a solid perch for the bird to grasp. I've had the best luck with the rope perches. Place some paper towels or newspaper on the floor of the carrier and you're set!

Cover the carrier with a blanket or towel. The bird will sleep for the car ride as long as it's dark.

To move the bird into the carrier, do it tail first. Have the bird sitting on one of your hands and then pet its neck with the other hand while backing it into the carrier. Place it on the perch, remove your hands, and close the carrier. If you back the bird in, there's less chance of panic or attempts to escape.

If you can, slowly introduce the carrier to the bird by placing good food and treats in the carrier and letting the bird go in and out of it as much as it wants for a period of time - at least a couple weeks.

I've transported several small birds this way. I did have one carrier that I had to modify with some plexiglass because the bird could fit her head through the bars but not get out. Keep an eye out for that. Most birds never cared to try, but I had one that tried to escape that way. In an emergency, bolt cutters do go through the wire very easily.

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My brother uses a standard small pet carrier for his Military Macaw. A towel on the bottom also helps provide something to grab, as well as making the carrier easier to clean when the bird does what birds do. I asked about adding a perch dowel; his reaction was "optional".

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