Training our Conure to Wear an Aviator Harness

During the first week of March, we bought an Aviator harness for our conure, Darwin, at Sparky’s Bird Store in Spokane. What an awesome store! Check it out if you’re in town!

We want to be able to take Darwin out on our shoulder as soon as the weather permits, so we’re hoping if we start training him with the flight harness now he will be ready in 1-2 months. We probably should have started sooner!

Sizing the Aviator Harness. The xxs size aviator harness is recommended for a Green-cheek conure. But looking at this harness next to our bird, the xxs size aviator harness looks too small for a green-cheek conure! Specifically, the aviator harness head loop looks way too small for a green cheeked conure. The manufacturer specifically lists “small conures” and cockatiels on this harness. However, some folks on forums and in the Amazon product reviews have said it looks too small for their GCC and they are going with a larger size harness. We took the harness back to Sparky’s this week to return the xxs for the next size larger, and they tried it on one of their green cheeks in the store and we saw first-hand that the xxs aviator harness fit fine on a green cheek conure! So, the packaging does not lie… the xxs aviator harness will fit a GCC.

Training an old bird to learn new tricks. Darwin just celebrated his 5th birthday and, to our knowledge, never saw an aviator harness before this week. So, we will try to document our experience as we go. The first time I got it out of the box, I wanted him to immediately associate it with happy times. So, I had a treat on-hand and showed him I could nibble on it without being harmed. He was not innately afraid of it or aggravated by it like he is some things (e.g. he attacks tissue paper). So, I wanted to see if he’d take a treat through one of the loops. Here is a video of our very first training session with Darwin.