How to clip properly
There is a right way to clip the wings of a bird that will allow a degree of flight without ultimate power but with coordination and safe landing. Anything less is cruel and barbaric.
If you must clip your bird, it should be a symmetrical clip, leaving at least three or four of the outer primary feathers on both wings: clipping one wing only is bad practice. The number of feathers to clip depends on each individual species: some birds are heavier than others, for instance, african greys are heavier than the smaller cockatoos and therefore need less clipping for the same degreee of flight impairment. Others are more capable flyers and have a better strength to weight ratio so need to be clipped more.
In other words, the number of feathers to be clipped will depend on the species and the individual bird. If you clip too lightly you will not achieve the effect you want. If you clip too much the bird will crash land and quite possibly die from its injuries.
Important: a bird under one year of age should not be denied the physical and mental health of fledging and being able to build up a healthy respiratory system, muscle strength and flight coordination. This is essential to its natural development as a bird.
For diagrams showing feather anatomy and where to clip click here.