This 16-year-old can free fly 5 parrots at once

Currently possessing an impressive flock of seven parrots, Kimberley Lim has been free-flying avians since she was nine years old.

Maisy Phua

Self-proclaimed fashion icon, pomeranian mom and Paris Hilton fan.

Published: 24 August 2023, 10:34 AM

The sun begins to set, casting a warm golden glow across a lush landscape of greenery. In the clear skies, a flock of parrots adorned in an array of vibrant colours takes flight.

As a single command pierces the air, the parrots react instantaneously – the flock descends, making its last grand sweeps in the air before gently returning to a petite woman’s outstretched arms.

However, this woman is no professional bird-keeper, and this scene is not one from the newly opened Bird Paradise. 

Instead, she is 16-year-old Kimberley Lim – one of many parrot free-flyers at Marina East Park from the Wings of Parrots Community (WOPC).

Kimberley boasts an impressive flock of seven parrots – a sunday conure, a sun conure, a turquoise green cheek conure, a turquoise pineapple green cheek conure, a blue and gold macaw, a black headed caique and a blue quaker parakeet.


Kimberley’s favourite parrot is the sun conure, as they are colourful, “can be trained faster” and are typically “closely bonded” to their handlers. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/TRICIA KUAN


The youth first became interested in parrot-keeping during a visit to Farmart Centre when she was just nine years old. There, she chanced upon a group of birdkeepers free-flying their parrots.

Inspired by the picturesque scene before her, Kimberley got her first parrot, a lovebird. Following this, the birdkeepers welcomed her into the parrot free-flying community, giving her useful advice and guidance, allowing her to successfully train her first bird. 

Since then, she has developed a deep love for avians as well as an appreciation for free-flying.


There are over 300 species of parrots in the world, varying greatly in many aspects including size and colour. PHOTO CREDIT: KIMBERLEY LIM


Commands under the free-flying discipline include basic orders like “recall”, as well as “boomerang”, which directs the bird to make a turn before returning to its owner.

Kimberley shares that basic recall training typically begins with a “step up”, where trainers place their fingers in front of their bird, teaching them to slowly climb up onto their hands.

Following this method, the distance between the owner and the bird is then progressively increased, with a treat provided for the bird upon each successful recall.




Influenced by her contagious love for parrots and free-flight training, Kimberley’s parents soon joined in on the hobby. 

“My father also started keeping birds when he saw me flying my lovebird. He found it really cool, so we began getting more,” shares Kimberley.

As the family’s passion for free-flying grew stronger, they sought out more and more like-minded parrot enthusiasts, eventually creating their own community.

Through its mission, the WOPC aims to bring together passionate bird owners in efforts to share their knowledge and experience towards better care of avians. Since its inception, the group has grown significantly, currently boasting close to 4,600 members in its Facebook group.


The WOPC is a free-flight academy which also offers training services for domesticated parrots. PHOTO CREDIT: WINGS OF PARROTS COMMUNITY/FACEBOOK


Although avians trained in free-flight enjoy a myriad of benefits, Kimberley still feels that it is not a necessity for everyday bird owners.

According to her, teaching a parrot basic recall training is “more important” than having them master all aspects of free-flying, as doing so helps to reduce the risk of owners losing their birds when they escape from their homes.

She does, however, personally believe in allowing parrots to free-fly. “Free-flight training builds wing muscles and provides (an outlet for them) to release their energy. (On the other hand), confining them in small cages restricts their movement, damaging their muscles.” she says.

The teen enjoys training her parrots every weekend with other bird owners from the WOPC from 4.30pm to 7pm at the Marina East Park.

However, the practice of free-flying parrots is not without its struggles. On rare occasions, Kimberley temporarily loses her beloved birds in the process of training – she describes this as one of her “scariest experiences” when free-flying parrots.


Training parrots in locations nearby ongoing traffic can prove to be dangerous for low-flying birds. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/TRICIA KUAN


Domesticated parrots can get “spooked by sudden sounds”, including calls from birds of prey like eagles when free-flying in open air. This triggers their fight-or-flight response, leading to the parrots attempting to escape to safety, leaving their owners clueless as to their location.

“It’s very scary, but I have trust in my birds. Sometimes, we have to let them stay overnight as we can’t find them in the dark. 

“We would come back at around 6.45am in the morning the next day (to) try calling them down. (Fortunately), my birds are recall-trained so it only takes a few minutes before they come back,” she shares.

Undeterred by these setbacks, Kimberley feels proud of her achievements thus far – including having free-flown five birds at a time.


According to Kimberley, she can successfully train a parrot to perform basic recall in under a week. GIF CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/TRICIA KUAN


To the teen, the best part of free-flying is watching her birds fly joyously as well as meeting like-minded people in her community.

“Training together as a community helps a lot as everyone has different opinions and advice, so it helps me to learn more,” she says.

Kimberley encourages other aspiring parrot owners and free-fliers to not feel intimidated and instead take a leap of faith – to do their own research and join whichever avian community they feel most comfortable with.

She says: “Don’t be afraid of having to fly them outdoors. It’s not that scary (once you get used to it). It’s fun.

“You just have to find the right people to train with.”

You may like these