When she was a chick, Pearl’s left wing tip was injured. Permanently.
Wings, like arms, have three parts – the upper arm (between the shoulder and elbow), the forearm (between the elbow and wrist), and the hand and fingers. Pearl is missing the “hand and fingers” portion of her left wing, which means that on that side, she can’t grow the very long feathers needed to achieve a sufficient height of liftoff and sustain flight.
This isn’t for any lack of trying, however (sort of like how I keep trying in vain to balance my checkbook, always convinced that success is just one decimal point away).
I call Pearl’s efforts “Big Wings”. “Big Wings” for birds, like jogging for humans (or at least for this human), is great for exercise, burning off stress, encouraging alertness, and getting the circulation going.
I am never sure exactly what sets off a vigorous new round of “Big Wings” – probably many things, including a stray breeze, the sight of another bird flying outside, frustration, boredom, or a simple birdie temper tantrum (such as when Mommy won’t allow fun activities like remodeling the wicker furniture, pooping on the sofa, or chewing up unread magazine pages).
First, she makes sure that she has a firm grip on the chosen surface (for this pic, the aforementioned off-limits wicker furniture).
Then she begins with a warm-up round.
After which things quickly escalate.
Cockatiel….or supersonic jet?
Upon conclusion, she instantly adopts the calm demeanor of a top secret super spy.
“Wings? What wings? No officer, I didn’t see any wings.”