How do I transport a cockatiel 200 miles?

I’m not a bird person- I don’t even like them- but my mother has a cockatiel she adores and because she (my mother) is sick and needs constant care she hasn’t been able to be around it. My mother is currently staying almost 200 miles away from her house where the bird is. I’ve been thinking of taking the damned thing down to her to cheer her up, but birds are such incredibly fragile things (those hollow bones and all).

Is there any advice to how to transfer a bird by car for a trip this long? Will a cardboard box do, and if so should it be a large one so the bird can move around or a small one so it can’t? Should I have food and water in the box or can they get along for the 3-4 hours without it? Any info appreciated.

Just take it in its usual cage with it’s usual food and water. Keep the car cool-- maybe toss a grape in with its usual food. Our bird actually likes car trips.

Remove any toys or swings from the cage before transporting it. If the cage is too big to haul as is disassemble it and take the bird in a carrier. Flexible perches connect easily and seed/water cups can be hung on the door.

If you stop on the road for food or breaks do not leave the bird in the car. Heat prostration in a bird is not pretty. And your mama would kill you.

I transported my cockatiel a number of times on 7+ hour drives, and it was no big deal. I actually think he liked the changes in scenery.

I would say the cage would be preferrable if it could fit. But remove the water and food - it will only get messy. You can simply give him some food or water when you stop to take a break. Even then, 3 to 4 hours would not be a big deal for the bird to fast.

If you can’t use the cage, then a carrier of some sort would be next. I would not recommend a box. I would look for something that has a perch. The bird would slide around in a box, and that might not be too fun.

If you do take a break, be sure you park in the shade and leave the windows partially open.

You might be able to use a box if you cover the bottom with an egg crate–it’s a plastic mesh used in ceiling light fixtures. You can get a sheet of it at a place like Home Depot or Lowes and cut it to size, and the mesh gives the bird’s toes something to hold on to.

Their fragility is a common misunderstanding. I have shipped birds cross-country as freight with great results. Travel by car is a piece of cake in comparison. Just don’t bake or freeze the 'tiel and you will be fine.

All good advice. I wanted to say it’s really good of you to do this, seeing as how you don’t even like birds. Thanks from another bird-lover.

Assuming the vehicle will be air conditioned, don’t allow the air to blow directly on the boid or its carrier. If you are transporting it with no A/C make sure the incoming air does not directly strike it or its carrier.

I’d add, if you can take the bird in it’s normal cage with perch, best. But, cover the cage with a sheet so the bird doesn’t get too overstimulated by passing trucks and such. If the cage is too big, smaller basic cages run about $12 at the local pet store.

I’d imagine, too, that your Mom has certain whistles (cockatiels are big on the whistling thang) or phrases she uses to communicate with him. Ask her, and learn them, and, as goofy as it might seem, whistle or say the pet phrases over and over in the car to let birdie know everything’s OK. I’ve got two cockatiels, hard case rescues, and they really like vocal communication/reassurance.

As an extra caution, make sure the car doors are all closed if you decide to give the bird some reststop food; would be pretty awful if he flipped out and flew off in the process.

You are such a good son, Sampiro, good luck with this endeavor.