(Re)Learning to fly
About a month ago, our female canary named Princess suffered an accidental wing injury, after which she was unable to fly. For several days her right wing drooped noticeably, and we feared that it might have been broken, in which case she would never have flown again. (Medical intervention to repair broken or dislocated bones in small birds is generally futile, as we discovered when a veterinarian inadvertently compounded the leg injury Princess suffered just after we bought her four years ago.) In her flightless condition, she was literally "grounded," and we had to make sure that all the food and water she needed was accessible to her while we were away. This happens to be molting season for them, so their energy level right now is below average anyway. One good sign was that she maintained a good appetite, especially when we brought her treats like basil flowers or fresh spinach leaves. Mm-mm good! Thankfully, she gradually recuperated, spending many long days in semi-dormant rest while the delicate tendons and muscles healed. George, our male canary, stayed close by her side for nearly this entire period, only leaving their room on a few occasions. He was clearly very worried about Princess, and it was quite touching. About two weeks ago, Princess started flapping her wings on occasion, as if to rebuild her wings' muscle tone, and she even flew a few feet every few days. It was very awkward at first, and she bumped into objects several times as she gradually regained control of her flight. For some odd reason, she always became more active in these practice sessions in the evening, when it was time for lights out.
Last night, Princess became alarmed when I was vacuuming their room and flew to the top of the plant shelf. She stayed up there, and it was the first time since her injury that she had slept in an elevated spot! You could tell she was excited by this accomplishment, and George was too: Romantic chirping between them was a sure sign that the healing process was nearly complete. Today she flew around their room several times, and Jacqueline took some video clips of the happy landmark occasion. Princess will probably need a few more days or weeks before she can fly as confidently as she used to, but we are now hugely relieved that her full recovery is all but guaranteed.