Traveling with your parrot: a nightmare


flying with a bird

Flying with a bird: Paleontologist, the young Quebecer specializes in the evolution of vertebrae. She settled in Sweden to pursue her doctorate with one of the leading authorities in this field.

Paleontologist, the young Quebecer specializes in the evolution of vertebrae. She settled in Sweden to pursue her

doctorate with one of the leading authorities in this field.

Pepper and Catherine have a very close relationship. And for good reason: they have been living together for 15 years. Catherine was barely a dozen years old when she adopted her Amazon parrot. And when she knew she would have to move to Scandinavia to stay there for a few years, it was out of the question to part with her beloved parrot.

It was the beginning of a long bureaucratic nightmare that fortunately ended well, but required hours of travel and travel to obtain information, vaccines, and authorizations, not to mention the hundreds of dollars she had to pay for Pepper to get to safety… with all its feathers.

It is also in order to help the owners who would have to live such an adventure that Catherine Boisvert decided to tell her story. “Truth be told, it was almost a full-time job for weeks,” she says. Information is difficult to obtain and is sometimes contradictory. And to those who sometimes find it difficult to complete formalities and paperwork when they have to travel with children abroad, I say: you haven’t seen anything yet.”

Before finding an airline that will want to trans-carry your feathered friend, it will be necessary to obtain several documents. First, is the CITES permit (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; which also serves as an export permit even if your bird does not belong to a protected species. To obtain it, you can contact the authorities of the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife. These will require the scientific name and common name of the beast, its birth or egg-laying certificate as well as proof of purchase, date of departure, and your address abroad. Call on your veterinarian to give you a hand because you will also need him to fill out several other documents.

Flying with a bird

Amazon parrots

Careful! insists Ms. Boisvert. The CITES permit and its copies must be stamped upon departure by the Canadian customs officer to be valid. The first copy is essential to enter the destination country, the third copy will remain in your hands.

Even more difficult step: you must obtain a CITES permit to import to the country where you intend to stay, in addition to a health certificate that meets the specific requirements of the authorities of that country. The document will need to be authenticated by your veterinarian and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ( Some countries, including Sweden, require that these papers be validated no later than 24 hours before departure.

You will also need to comply with the quarantine instructions. Pepper had to spend six months at home, but in some cases, the animal must be left in a designated place, which requires a fee and a reservation. It is very essential to do this very well in advance. In addition, an appointment (which must be confirmed the day before departure) will be required with a veterinarian upon arrival at the host airport. This final inspection and the new forms to fill out cost Catherine Boisvert $175.

Flying with a bird

How to travel with a parrot by plane

Transit airport

Not yet unshelled? Continue. Pepper and his devoted mistress were to transit through Prague, Czechoslovakia, and then travel with another airline to Stockholm. Another nightmare.

“This was the most difficult bureaucratic step. Permits obtained so far are not valid for the country where you will transit even if you do not leave the airport. However, the requirements obviously vary from one country to another and it is exceedingly difficult to obtain information on this subject. In the United States, the transit permit costs $200. So I consulted the Czech embassy almost… 100 times without satisfactory answers, most often contradictory. The week before departure, I went to the embassy 10 times to finally get the required documents four hours before Flying with a bird. And to say that when I was in the Czech Republic, I was not asked for any document!”

Are all your papers in order? Well! Leave. Not so fast.

No need to tell you that Mrs. Boisvert is a “mother hen”. Even though animals travel by plane without too many problems, the paleontologist believed that the conditions suitable for cats, dogs, pythons, and other critters did not necessarily apply to a bird of tropical origin. Especially since the cages remain on the runway for some time before boarding. By dint of persuasion, she was able to convince the staff to have Pepper travel with her, in the passenger section, for an additional $150, paid in cash on departure.

Come on! Say goodbye to everyone, we have to pass the hand luggage inspection.

“To my despair, I realized then that pepper had to get out of his cage to cross the safety fence with my bird in his arms. The worst thing is the other passengers who will tease you because the beast did not appreciate all this curiosity of which it was the object. If you pass by, make sure you have a towel and gloves on hand to handle the bird. You should also expect the guards to take a look at your licenses and other documents.”

The rest of this great love story went smoothly. Safely near his mistress, Pepper slept for almost 10 hours of the trip, waking up from time to time to take a sip of orange juice. It goes without saying that they will have to relive all these tra-causeries when they return to Quebec.

It should also be noted that people who often travel to the United States with their pet can now obtain a special three-year CITES permit, the pet passport in official jargon, or a certificate of ownership. The document will avoid a host of administrative problems, round trip, throughout this period, but you will still have to present health certificates on each trip. The document will be issued within six to eight weeks after providing all the necessary information. Approximately 400 people currently hold them in Canada. A form can be obtained by clicking

In several Europe countries, this passport has been in force for just over a year.


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