It was with some trepidation and a lot of guilt that I told the vet to clip the rest of Stewie’s flight feathers. I loved having him flighted when he was an only bird, but ever since he’s taken to harassing and divebombing Mika I can’t trust him not to abuse his flying privileges. So I took that option away from him.

For a few weeks we had tried a partial clip (a “show clip” that left the outer two flight feathers of each wing in tact) to slow him down. And it did slow him down a little… for a few days. My hope had been that trying to attack Mika wouldn’t be worth the extra work to him, but it turned out that with the modified clip he could still fly across the living room and back without too much effort. Keeping him from flying at Mika, which he tries to do at every opportunity, took a lot of vigilance and it really was stressing me out.

Stewie in the Fall of 07 before his primaries grew out.

Stewie in the Fall of '07 with his original clip, before his primaries grew out.

So Stewie is “grounded” — now all the flapping in the world only results in a trip to the floor — and peace has been restored. I can now let both the birds out at the same time, without fear of bloodshed, which also means that both birds get twice as much out-of-cage time as before. No longer do I need to watch the clock to regulate who gets to come out when.

To clip or not to clip is a controversial subject, one that I don’t want to go into right now. But I do believe you have to do what is right and what is best for your particular household. It’s only been a few days, but I already feel so much more relaxed and comfortable — and the extra out-of-cage time is resulting in happier birds too, or so I’d like to think.

I can only be hopeful that one day (in the distant future) Stewie and Mika will get along well enough to share the playstand and preen each other. Perhaps.

For now at least (here in Reality Land), they can coexist more peacefully, each on his or her own side of the room.