Has your bird ever escaped? What would you do if your bird flew away and got lost? Oh no, “Petey come back come back, come back!!!” Those are dreadful words to voice when your bird accidentally escapes outside your home. There is nothing more horrifying than seeing your bird fly off into the wild blue yonder. You feel so helpless and maybe tears start to well up in your eyes, knowing your beloved is out of reach.
Still, there is hope. The first sign of hope in preventing this incident in the first place.
The sure method of preventing your bird’s escape is making sure your doors and windows are closed if your bird is outside its cage. If you think taking your bird outside knowing its wings are clipped is safe, think again. Trimming wings does not necessarily prevent a bird from escaping. Many clipped birds escape too. Just because your bird is properly clipped, it can still fly, just not upward.
You may want to look into “microchipping” your bird. I am sure you can ask your vet about the procedure and just how to go about it. The purpose of doing this procedure is that when your bird is found and taken to a vet, it can be scanned for a chip, and the owner can then be traced.
Things to Consider
Here are a few things you could do in advance that would help you out if your bird accidentally flies off:
- Have a picture or scanned picture of your bird on file. Here you could scan their picture quickly and make many copies to distribute. You want to somehow protect the scanned pictures from the elements outside. Color ink from your printer would wash away in rain more quickly than black and white ink. Wrapping the scanned picture in a plastic paper holder, something in the order of holding pages in a school notebook can be preventative. I am sure this is easily obtainable at a stationery store or a store like Office Depot.
- Make sure you have a staple gun and tape on hand for your signs/posters. Duct tape adheres better to surfaces than scotch tape.
- This may sound silly but having a map of your city helps a great deal when covering the ground. It could help make things easier in mapping the sightings and locations of your bird.
- Make cassette recordings of your birds chirping, singing, and talking. Also, make recordings of your own voice talking to your bird.
- Have binoculars on hand and a towel.
When your best-feathered friend escapes, you need to go out and search immediately. There is still a chance of you retrieving your bird if it has not gotten too far away. Look in the trees right above you. Your bird may light there and never make a sound, out of fear, to let you know it is upright above you. If your bird is indeed in the tree, talk to it calmly, get a ladder and slowly go up it without startling your bird further. If you do not have the means of a ladder, most fire departments will help out in retrieving your pet.
Put the bird’s cage outside in plain view with food and leave it there until your bird is found.
Throw bird seeds or pellets on top of your roof, car, or any other place that is clearly visible. Your bird could land there, see you and fly back to you.
Take the cassette recordings that you made to various spots in your neighborhood. If possible, ask some of your neighbors to help you play the recordings.
Now, if you cannot locate your bird at all, put up signs/posters around the neighborhood, grocery stores, schools, libraries, and any other public place that allows you to hang your signs/posters. Pet stores and vets are also good places to hang your signs/posters. Usually, that is the first place someone would call if they locate a missing bird.
If you are going to write out your signs/posters, write legibly, listing the bird’s name, what type, age, special markings, last seen, if you offer a reward include that too and your phone number/email.
Put ads in the newspaper, giving a complete detailed description of your bird. Include the name of your bird and any phrases or songs it may know. That goes for the above paragraph also.
You may want to knock on some neighbor’s door to inform them of your beloved missing and for them to keep an eye out. For you tamed parrot owners, your bird will probably go to a human being when it gets hungry enough. That is why you need to inform your neighbors just in case your bird presents itself.
You can go as far as getting the neighborhood kids involved. Offer them a reward if they can locate your bird. Inform the kids not to catch the bird with their own hands, but to have a pillowcase to throw over the bird and then call an adult.
The best time to look for your bird, particularly cockatiels, is before sunrise and at dusk. That is when they are most active and searching for food.
Register your bird on the “Lost and Found Bird Hotlines.”
- 911 Parrot Alert
- Planned Parrothood
- Lost & Found
- Mickaboo Cockatiel Rescue
- Birds N Ways
- Bird Hobbyist
- For Your Bird
Taking Care of Yourself
During this time your body can be worn down from searching all day, worrying, and having restless nights. Depression could set in too. Have a close friend on hand that you can share your hurts with. Remember to eat properly to keep up your strength both physically and mentally.
Unfortunately, some birds are never recovered. Sad but true. Birds may fly so far away from home that all your efforts in placing your signs/posters are not in the same area that your bird flew to. Birds can also die from the harsh weather and elements outside, lack of food, or being preyed upon.
It is so easy to lose hope at this time. But, don’t ever give up hope, as many birds are found.
**adapted from Grace, Pootspete**
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