How To Hit The Road With Your Bird! – Travel With a Bird By Car

Published by Joseph Calabrese on

Getting ready to embark on an epic car trip with your bird?

Before buckling up your birdy, it’s essential to know some key pieces of information, particularly in regard to the safety and comfort of your bird. This article will cover how to safely travel with your bird in the car for an easy, stress-free road trip!

We’ll cover everything from choosing the perfect travel carrier…

All the way to setting up a safe environment in the car for your bird.

Let’s get into it so you can confidently hit the road with your feathered friend!

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Preparing For Car Travels With Your Bird

Before embarking on a long road trip with your bird, you’ll need:

  • A proper travel cage/carrier/backpack to hold your bird
  • Your bird to be comfortable sitting in your car
  • To get your bird used to taking trips in the car

The first one is pretty obvious, but I think the other two things require further explanation:

If you’ve never taken your bird for a car ride, you don’t know how they’ll react to being in a moving car.

Because of this, you’ll first need to get them comfortable with being in the car and then with short trips before committing to a long road trip.

Before covering more of that, let’s first make sure you’ve got a suitable carrier to transport your bird.

Choosing The Perfect Travel Carrier For Road Trips

If you haven’t gotten one already, you’ll need a travel cage, carrier, or backpack to secure your bird during car rides. Travel carriers don’t need to be as spacious as your bird’s at-home cage as it’ll only be used temporarily.

As long as there’s enough room to put them inside, they’ll be all cool!

Below we’ll take a look at some of the best travel cage and backpack options in case you don’t have one already.

How to travel with birds by car
Image source: Pixabay

Top Travel Cage Options For Car Rides

When it comes to a good travel cage you can use for short and long car trips, you’ll likely narrow it down to these two options:

First is the perch handle travel carrier from Prevue Pet Products:

Key features of this travel cage:

  • Perch handle on top of the cage, which can be removed
  • Seatbelt brackets to weave a seatbelt through for extra safety
  • Cup-holding mini doors so you don’t need to open the cage to access their bowls
  • A spacious front door to easily put a small bird through
  • Slide-out tray and floor grate for easy cage maintenance

Since this is a very high-quality travel cage, it’s also quite expensive. But the benefit to that is that once you have it, it’ll serve you for life.

This means you’ll never need to buy another travel cage!

Your second-best option is this travel cage from Prevue Pet Products, which is a lot cheaper, but still good quality:

cockatiel getting ready for car travel

Key features of this travel cage:

  • Less expensive than the previous option
  • Can transport small to medium-sized parrots
  • Large front door to easily fit a bird through
  • Spacious enough to work as a temporary home for small birds
  • Folds away for easy storage when not in use

If you have cockatiels or budgies, this carrier works great as a travelling cage.

Not only for quick trips, but you could also house these smaller birds in this cage for a few days while visiting grandma.

Or really any other trip that takes a few days.

If you couldn’t decide on the two travel cage options listed above, you might want to consider getting a travel backpack instead…

Top Car Travel Backpack Choice For Birds 🎒

The travel backpack for birds that lots of people are obsessed with right now is the BirdTricks x Ibiyaya TrackPack:

A BirdTricks video demonstrating how to assemble the backpack

Key features of the BirdTricks travel backpack:

  • Perfect for small to medium-sized birds
  • Includes perch holes on the side for easy perch installation
  • Bowl holes for installing your bird’s food and water bowls in the backpack
  • Large front opening to easily put your bird inside
  • Safe and comfortable for your feathered friend

When it comes to BirdTricks products, you can hardly go wrong!

If you don’t like this one, there are plenty of other travel backpacks on Amazon or other online stores for you to pick from.

Getting Your Bird Used To Being In The Car 🚗

So, you have a proper travel cage, carrier, or backpack for your bird?


Now, let’s discuss getting your bird used to being in the car while inside their carrier…

Here are some tips:

  • Simply allow your bird to sit in the stationary car with you for a short time
  • Talk to them, give them treats, and make them feel comfortable while they’re inside the car
  • Make sure they stay in the comfort and security of their carrier (You don’t want them being scared into flight while inside the car as they’ll associate the negative feelings with the car)
  • After having your bird in the stationary car for a while, bring them back inside, take them out of the carrier, and then give them lots of rewards for staying calm in a new situation! – (This shows your bird that being in the car is safe and only temporary, so there’s nothing to fear)
car travelling with birds
My cockatiel getting ready for a vet trip

It’s important that you start getting your bird used to the car while it’s immobile.

Trying to get your bird used to a moving car on the first day is like trying to learn how to swim over the Mariana Trench.

In other words, it wouldn’t go very well.

Your bird would likely get scared from the experience of being in a fast-moving car.

This will make them even more uncomfortable and scared of the next road trip.

However, all birds are different…

Your bird might be totally fine with having their first experience in a car while it’s moving, but most aren’t, which is why I suggest taking baby steps.

Get Your Bird Comfortable With Short Car Rides 🏎

Do you think your bird was alright being in a stationary car?

If so, you can increase the challenge and start getting them comfortable with short car rides.

Start by taking your bird for a quick 5 – 10 minute ride up and down the street.

(It might also make your bird feel more comfortable if someone sat in the backseat with them)

If everything went smoothly and your bird didn’t show any signs of stress, you can give them rewards and go for an even longer trip.

10-minute trips can progress to 20 minutes…

20-minute trips can increase to 30 minutes…

And you’d probably be alright jumping straight from a 30-minute trip all the way to 60 minutes.

This underrated training exercise prepares your bird for future road trips that take multiple hours, if that’s what you’re planning.

road trip and travelling with birds
Image source: Pixabay

6 Key Safety Tips For Travelling With Birds In A Car

Before travelling with your bird in the car, you’ll need to know some key safety tips.

Riding in the car can be dangerous for your bird if you don’t know how to travel with them safely. Below I’ll provide a few valuable tips for keeping your birds safe on car rides.

Here are the 6 safety tips I’ll be covering:

  1. Don’t allow your bird to free-roam
  2. Wrap a seatbelt around your bird’s carrier
  3. Check up on your bird regularly
  4. Keep the car at a bird-safe temperature
  5. Don’t point the AC/heater directly toward your bird
  6. Clear dust from the car

1. Don’t Allow Your Bird To Free-Roam In The Car

There are way too many videos of people driving while their birds are running loose in the car.

Sure, it’s safe for birds to be out of the carrier in a stationary car, but it’s absolutely crazy to have them out while the car is moving. After all, you wouldn’t let a toddler climb around the car while you’re driving, so you shouldn’t allow birds to do this either.

Not only is it a huge driving distraction for you…

But if you need to slam on the brakes for whatever reason, your birds can get seriously injured.

Keep your birds in their travel carrier while driving the car.

2. Buckle Up Your Birdy (Seatbelt)

To increase your bird’s safety in the car, you should wrap the seatbelt around their carrier.

Again, your bird can get injured if you need to slam on the brakes while driving, even while they’re inside their cage. Putting a seatbelt around your bird’s travel carrier will secure the cage to the seat, helping to prevent the cage from falling off.

Remember, the first travel cage I recommended earlier has seatbelt buckles for this very reason!

Always buckle up your birdy before driving.

Image of the cage using the seatbelt buckles

3. Check In With Your Bird Regularly

It’s important to regularly check up on your bird during road trips, both short ones and especially long ones that take multiple hours. If you don’t check up on them, you could miss signs of illness or stress that they show due to being in the moving car.

Make regular pit stops to check in and socialise with your bird to keep them comfortable.

When checking in, you want to watch out for these signs of distress:

  • Vomiting & vomit on the floor of the carrier
  • Being unbalanced on the perch
  • Choking
  • Lethargic behaviour
  • Other odd behaviours that aren’t normal for your bird
  • Excessive screaming that isn’t usual for your bird

4. Adjust Your Car To A Bird-Safe Temperature

You can’t let the car get too cold or too hot while your bird is going on a road trip.

Ideally, you should have the temperature of the car somewhere around what your bird is used to when inside your home. For most people, room temperature would be around 77 – 82° F (25 – 28° C), which is good for most birds.

In general, don’t let your bird sit in extreme temperatures.

If it’s too cold or hot for you, it’s probably not good for your bird.

Take extra care with this if you need to leave your bird alone in the car.

Keep the window cracked or lower the heating to ensure your bird doesn’t overheat in the car.

Safety for car travelling for birds

5. Ensure The Heaters Or AC Aren’t Aimed Directly Toward Your Bird

Being hit with direct airflow from heaters or AC is not good for birds.

When turning on your air conditioners, take note of where the fans are pointed and ensure it’s not aimed directly toward your bird.

Aim it higher or lower than where your bird’s carrier is placed.

You can tell if they’re pointing toward your bird as their feathers will be blowing in the wind.

Be aware that some cars have airflow in the back seat, which would hit your bird directly.

Turn these off or point them elsewhere if possible.

6. Clear Dust From The Car Before Travelling With Your Bird

Cars are known for collecting dust fairly quickly…

In fact, cars can collect a dangerous amount of dust that is harmful to our feathered friends.

Before setting your bird down in the vehicle, give it a quick vacuum to help remove some of the excess dust. You don’t want that dust to be lingering around while going on a road trip with your bird as it could make them sick.

Birds need access to fresh air, not dust-polluted air.

How to travel with your bird
Image source: Pixabay

Essential Tips For Long Road Trips 🛣

Planning a road trip to see some long-distance relatives?

If your trip is going to take more than a couple of hours, you need to know some essential tips to keep your bird safe and comfortable for this long period.

Below are some general rules to follow when taking your bird on long car trips.

Pack a Bottle Of Fresh Water For Your Bird

Chances are that the water in your bird’s bowl won’t stay clean for the entire trip.

Be sure to pack a bottle of fresh water you can use to refill your bird’s bowl if you’re taking a trip that’s longer than a few hours. During your pit stops and road breaks, check on your bird and their water bowl to see if it needs a refill.

This ensures your feathered friend is drinking clean throughout the entire trip!

Pack Nutritious Foods From Your Bird’s Healthy Diet

You should pack a variety of foods for your bird when planning long road trips.

This is especially important if your trip will take you out of your home for multiple days.

A good, healthy, and varied diet is important for birds, even when they’re out on the road.

Be sure to pack a variety of veggies, fruits, pellets, seeds, and whatever else makes up your bird’s diet.

By doing this, you’re ensuring that your bird is eating as healthily on the road as they would at home.

how to hit the road car with your bird
My bird’s veggie mix!

Keep Windows Shut When Travelling Through High-Traffic Areas

Sadly, most people that we drive past aren’t concerned with our bird’s safety.

However, this is understandable because birds are way more sensitive than the typical pet.

Since birds have such a sensitive respiratory system, it’s important that we protect them from outside toxic fumes.

High-traffic areas, like city centres and main freeways, are your main concern.

I highly suggest keeping the car windows up when driving through these areas.

The most common hazards you’d come across in these areas include:

  • People hanging lit cigarettes from their car windows
  • Exhaust fumes from trucks, vans, and powerful cars
  • Unknown cooking fumes when driving past restaurants (could be Teflon fumes)

Unless you’re driving through a low-density area, you should keep the windows up as you just never know what smells are lingering around.

keep your bird safe when in the car

Answering FAQ’s

Before wrapping this article up, I want to quickly answer some frequently asked questions about travelling with birds via car.

Hopefully, answering these questions will give you some useful info I didn’t cover earlier.

FAQ: Can Birds Travel In Cars?

It’s absolutely safe to travel with your birds in the car.

As long as you follow the tips, tricks, and safety advice covered in this article, your birds will be safe and comfortable on road trips. After all, putting them in the car is likely your most effective way of bringing them to the vet or visiting your long-distance relatives.

So yes, car travel is safe for birds.

FAQ: Can Birds Get Carsick?

According to Lafeber, birds can suffer from nausea from a car ride and throw up.

They also gave some good advice on how to prevent this, which was to not feed your bird an hour or 2 before a car ride. They continued by saying that some parrots can suffer from extreme car sickness, while others are completely fine.

Does your bird get carsick?

I’d be interested to know in the comments below this article.

FAQ: Are Backpacks Safe For Birds?

You shouldn’t put your bird in a backpack not designed to transport birds.

A regular school backpack or something like that is not a good place to hold your bird while travelling.

However, a bird travel backpack, like the one from BirdTricks covered earlier, is specifically made for parrots, so it’s perfectly safe and comfortable for them.


Do you have all the info you need to embark on an epic road trip with your bird?

Here’s a super quick step-by-step guide to preparing a car ride with your bird:

  1. Purchase an ideal travel carrier for your bird
  2. Get your bird used to being in a stationary car
  3. Go for a short car ride to get your bird used to being in a mobile car
  4. Pack a bottle of fresh water for your bird
  5. Pack a variety of fresh foods for long car rides

Finally, here are some of the key safety tips for travelling with birds in a car:

  1. Don’t let them run around the car while you’re driving
  2. Strap a seatbelt around your bird’s travel cage
  3. Keep the car at a bird-safe temperature
  4. Ensure the car isn’t dusty before travelling with your bird
  5. Check up on your bird regularly during a long road trip

Hopefully, you’re all ready for your next trip to grandma’s or to the vet!

Share this article right now with those who need it.

Take care.



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