The biggest problem with a quick disconnect is many parrots are much better at working them than humans. Cockatoos especially…
can remove some of the slip clips and squeeze clips in a fraction of a second. It is impossible to know what moment in time a bird will discover how to remove a clasp, and no way to train them not to.
A safe bird harness needs to be as light weight as possible. Any disconnect mechanism that is strong enough to stand up to a parrot’s beak, and can also be worked by human fingers, will increase the weight a bird has to carry.
We have experimented with more than 50 different attachment designs including bayonet clasp, slip clips, carabiners, swivel clips, magnet clasp, screw clasp, center and side release buckles, cam buckles, and others, but nothing suitable has been found. Every year we have a few bird owners that offer good ideas but after testing none have proven suitable. If anyone happens to have a design that may work we would love to check it out.
Modifying The Aviator Leash to be removable is not recommended for several reasons.
- Any change made to something as important as a harness for your companion needs to be thoroughly tested by someone with experience working with harnesses and birds. There are many variables that can only be discovered after many years of trial and error.
- It is likely that curious mechanically inclined species like cockatoos will figure out how to work the connection and remove the leash.
- A bird carries the weight of the harness and ½ of the weight of the leash. Extra weight is a problem for smaller species, especially when flying. The Petite Aviator Harness weighs less than 11 grams. This equals about 12% of a cockatiels weight. Adding a 4 gram clasp increases the percentage to 17%. For a 150 pound person this would be over 25 pounds, and we don’t have a light weight skeleton and fly.
- The possibility of the clasp snagging on something is low risk but can be very annoying to a bird walking in the grass or sitting on a tree branch. We need to avoid things that may annoy a bird and cause him to not like wearing a harness.
- A bird wearing a harness and left in a carrier will likely become bored and may turn his attention to damaging a harness.
- Most slip clips similar to what are used on dog leashes are a composite metal of steel. The metal does not bend like a nail, it breaks like plastic. A few larger parrots have been known to break the standard slip clip.
- Most connectors will be shiny and attractive as a toy, and a constant distraction. Some are plated with a coating that can be peeled off, with sharp edges and possibly toxic properties. (The metal slide on The Aviator is powder-coated black with the same safe paint that is used on most quality bird cages.)
At The Parrot University we have over 20 year’s personal experience using harnesses on thousands of birds of all ages. Before we settled on this design we spent 10 years experimenting with our designs and researching every harness design from every kind of animal. Since 2005 The Aviator Bird Harnesses has been tested by over 300,000 birds.