Question: Hello, I am a bird but for some reason I cannot fly. I know I should be able to fly, I see other birds flying, but I simply cannot fly. What is wrong with me, how can I fly?
Signed Flightless in Seattle
There are many reasons why a bird cannot fly, some birds are flightless naturally. Kiwis and penguins are two types of flightless birds, chickens are semi-flightless, they can fly but not for long and cannot get terribly high. You did not say what kind of bird you were, are you a chicken? Sometimes fowl are fed so much that they become too heavy to fly properly.
Other birds cannot fly if they are young, but eventually reach a point where their wings are strong enough to fly a short distance, and later they can fly farther. If you are young just keep flapping your wings to build muscles and one day your parent bird will encourage you to take flight or will leave you, forcing you to take flight and find your own food.
If you are a pet bird there are two other things that could hamper your ability to fly. Your owner may have clipped the flight feathers on your wings. Some people do this to stop birds from flying away. If done correct this is painless and you will grow flight feathers again (unless they are clipped).
The other thing that may happen to pet birds is that the cage itself does not provide enough room for flight, resulting in muscle atrophy. Basically your wing muscles are too weak for decent, prolonged, flight. Many pet birds are kept in tall cages that offer very little flight room. Most bird would be happier (and may even be healthier) in a large aviary, or if given time out of their cage for decent flight.
If you are feeling pain in either wing you could have sustained an injury which would leave you unable to fly.
Some wing injuries will heal on their own, some will not. If you are a wild bird hopefully somebody will find you and take you to a wildlife rehabilitation center, if you are a pet bird hopefully your owner will take you to the veterinarian.
Another thought would be that perhaps you are moulting and have lost some of the flight feathers that you need, or that your feathers need to be preened better for flight. Or you may even be a mutation that has feathers that are simply not practical for flying.
Further Reading for Bird Owners