The Aviator Harness and Leash

Sussex, England

Hi Stephen,

We have been using parrot harnesses for our African Grey, Ndhlovu, for a number of years now, and recently acquired an Aviator. I have to say that this is a fantastic product! I'm so impressed with your product that I'm writing to let you know what I have been saying about it…

I'm a regular contributor to an internet forum called AnAfricanGrey, among others, and have posted a number of images of Ndhlovu out and about wearing her harness. A number of members have asked me about harness training their birds – some have tried, but with varying results. So I have put together a series of articles about what to do. I suppose the one that concerns you most closely is Part II: Choosing a Harness, in which I compare the Aviator with other harnesses on the market of which we have experience.

I have attached some of the photos that I have posted on AnAfricanGrey and several other sites – the first of the three recently won a photo competition!

I hope wish you every success in the future with this fantastic harness!

Best regards,
Oliver Jackson

Philosopher in Design


Part 2 of 3

Part II: Choosing a harness for your grey
with permission of "© CaptainQuark. Originally posted on www.anafricangrey.ca"

There are several parrot harnesses available on the market today.

The Aviator
Henry's Freedom Harness
The Kaylor Collar
The Feather Tether

…and others.

Of those listed above, Ndhlovu has used 3: the Feather Tether, Henry's Freedom Harness and The Aviator, listed in chronological order.

I shall grade each of these harnesses for safety, how easy is it for your bird to escape from the harness, comfort and ease of use, how easy it is to put on and take off.

The Feather Tether was the first harness that we used for Ndhlovu.


Safety: 2nd of 3 It has metal clips that cannot easily be undone by your bird. As they are metal, your bird cannot chew through them.
Comfort: 3rd of 3 Too much metal. This is also the heaviest of the three.
Ease of use: 3rd of 3 Very fiddly to put on. It is very illogical and is far too easy to put on wrong.
We nicknamed this harness "The Iron Maiden". It really is difficult to use and is very constricting for your bird. The metal clips are uncomfortable. We still have it, though, and when Ndhlovu is being extra stroppy, we threaten her by saying "Co-operate, or it'll be the Iron Maiden for you!"
Overall Rating: 3rd of 3

The second harness – and the one that, at the time of writing, we have used the longest – is the Henry's Freedom Harness.


Safety: 3rd of 3 This harness only has one clip, but it's made of plastic. We're confident that Ndhlovu doesn't want to leave us, but I would hate for someone to lose their bird!
Comfort: 2nd of 3 The only complaint with this harness was that, sometimes it could ride up and constrict her crop.
Ease of use: 1st of 3 Putting it on and taking it off was very easy!
This is the harness that we have had the longest. The Iron Maiden was difficult to use, so we soon looked around for a replacement. Fantastically easy to use and adjust! If only the clip was metal instead of plastic… If you trust your bird 100% and need only the lightest restraint, then this is probably the best harness there is! If I have a few chores to do in the back yard and want to take Ndhlovu with me, this is the harness I choose.
Overall Rating: 2nd of 3

Ndhlovu's latest harness is The Aviator, which she's been using for the past couple of months.


Safety: 1st of 3 No clips at all, so nothing to come undone.
Comfort: 1st of 3 No clips mean no hard bits pressing on your bird's body. The material that it's made of is very slippery, so there’s little friction against the bird's feathers, reducing the chance of ruffling them. The neck yoke is very deep cut to ensure that it doesn't interfere with your bird's crop.
Ease of use: 2nd of 3 A bit unfair really, as it's easy to put on, but adjusting it to the right tightness around the chest can be fiddly with a fidgeting bird.
This is a far better harness than the Feather Tether in every respect. It's the lightest of the three and the elastic leash means that, if your bird flies to the end of the tether, it doesn't stop with a jerk and a plummet! It comes with a DVD with a fantastic film about how best to introduce your bird to wearing the harness – it's worth he money for that alone!
Overall Rating for The Aviator: 1st of 3 Without a doubt, the best of the bunch!

I have no experience of the other harnesses available, so I shall not comment on their relative merits, although I don't like the look of the FlightSuit. The ideal in a harness is maximum safety for minimum coverage. The FlightSuit encases your bird in material. This means that your bird can't preen while it's wearing this suit. Remember also that a bird's feathers are rigid, so if the suit gets twisted or shifts in any way, it can drive the point of the feather painfully into the birds flesh.

"© CaptainQuark. Originally posted on www.anafricangrey.ca"

Reprinted by permission of CaptainQuark
Philosopher in Design