By: Clara Lou from PetsLoveBest
Bringing a pet bird home comes with the risk of losing him in the big outdoors. No matter how careful you are, a bird can just fly away from its perch or escape the room through doors before you could react. In a nutshell, accidents happen and you need to prepare for this in advance and act immediately if your bird escapes. The first few hours of dealing with bird escapes are critical so don’t waste time in being hopeless about your lost bird.
You need to be diligent about safety measures. That includes maintaining double door boundaries (keeping the doors of the home closed when the cage is open), training your bird to respond to you, free-fly training if possible, etc. This will add to the safety and help you reunite your bird with you. However, birds with clipped wings can also fly far enough to disappear.
Stay Calm and Take First Steps
The first thing when you realize your pet’s missing is to keep calm. It’s definitely a terrible and a panicking situation but, your mindfulness during this time will go a long way. Edwin from Petlovesbest says, “Many people lose hope too soon. The bird can be rescued even after months and years, and all that matters is to keep looking for your lost bird strategically.”
If you saw your bird flying away in an open sky, go out and keep your eyes on the bird. Pet birds are not so good with flying high and can be dragged away with a gust of wind. But if that’s not the case, the bird will tire out in some time and likely to land on any of nearby rooftops, ground, or on a branch of a tree.
Call your bird by his name. A bird who never flew outside can’t recognize the home he’s living in and gets confused by too many houses it can see from up high. In fact, the bird feels dangerous and alone and may look for the signs of your presence.
When you look for him/her and call him/her by his/her name, he/she may hear your call and respond to you. The bird will be calmer even before you can spot him/her, increasing the chances of the bird to land. If you’re fortunate enough, you will see where your bird is landing.
You should start making calls to your family, friends, and neighbors for help by this time and when they arrive, make a plan and assign them certain tasks on which areas they should look for your bird.
You can also call neighborhood kids and tell them to look for the bird and inform you anything they hear about the bird. Describe and show photos of your pet and offer them a reward. Kids don’t usually lie and can actively search for the lost pet.
In case your bird lands to a friendly human and he/she keeps it as a pet, kids can somehow figure out that fact and can inform you. Some people believe that the bird that has come to them is abandoned, and they should adopt them without even caring to find their owners. Keep looking for the bird until you spot him.
How To Search For Your Lost Bird
You should start looking for the bird as soon as you realize your bird is missing from his/her cage. Try to gather as many people as you can and start looking for him/her in the nearby areas. A bird would not go far in its first excursion outside and might rest in a tree or on a rooftop.
If you have a group of people helping you in rescuing your bird, you all should go in different directions and try to circle the area where you saw the bird last time. This will improve your chances of sighting the bird.
Check all the trees from all the angles and views possible. Most birds can camouflage in tree branches. And if the bird spots you, he will be calmer and may not take another flight, come down, or reply to your calls. Use binoculars if you have one. In a nutshell, check all the trees and rooftops in your area, and while you do so, keep calling the bird’s name and stay alert for any replies.
If you have your bird’s voice of screaming and reciting your words recorded, play it loudly. Hearing it, the bird feels more secure and can spot you from above and reply to you too. Also, if you have more than one bird, bring the cage with the other birds. Your lost bird may listen to them squawking, spot the cage, and can return.
Please tell people who are helping you to wear loose t-shirts or to bring pillowcases. This will help them to put the bird underneath if it comes to them.
How to Get the Bird Down From a Tree
In the case you’ve found your bird stuck high on a tree, you need to let it come down on its own. Climbing up using a ladder or using a broomstick can frighten the bird, and that can make the bird take another flight. Also, spraying water won’t help. A bird with wet wings can still fly, and you might not want your bird to fly again to another place.
All you have to do is wait patiently for your bird to come down. Talk to it in a sweet voice and let it know that you’re waiting down for it. The bird gets scared and confused and may also look disoriented because of the newly explored outdoors.
Once you spot the bird, you can thank people who helped you search your bird and let them go. A huge crowd below can be the reason your bird wouldn’t want to come down. The same goes for cats and dogs; ensure that there’s no cat or dog around.
The bird also gets frightened of coming down because pet birds never practiced climbing down from great heights. If you have trained your pet to climb down from higher places in your home, things can be easier here. Place his cage below the tree and keep his favorite toys, food, and treats inside it to lure the bird.
However, despite all your efforts, the bird might not come down. The bird will be hungry and thirsty after three days and will be more likely come down. There should always be someone available to monitor the bird.
What if Bird Still Doesn’t Climb Down?
It is possible that your bird stays on the tree. The chances of his climbing down are high around sunrises and sunsets. The bird will sleep through the night and won’t be awake till dawn. Reach to the spot before sunrise if at all the bird lands on the ground and looking for you.
Dine out below the tree and carry the bird’s housemates with you. Offering them the delicious food including treats will make the bird jealous and may fly down.
As I’ve said, the bird will be severely hungry and thirsty by day three, he/she will be more willing to come to you. If you can climb the tree, now is the time to reach out to him. However, make sure you go slowly towards the bird. A familiar face will seem a safe haven to him/her and won’t likely fly again.
What to Do If You Couldn’t Find the Bird
If you don’t find your bird within 24 hours of missing, initiate further steps. contact all nearby local vets, bird clubs, police departments, and pet stores and alert them about the lost bird and leave flyers to them. There are several online database’s that you can post lost/found birds.
Unfortunately, if your bird falls into the hands of thieves or people who want to keep him/her as their pet may visit a vet or pet stores for common questions about the breed of the bird and what they eat. If the respective authorities find any suspicion, they can inform you about it.
Some well-meaning people also believe that an unknown bird came to them is their responsibility and adopt them without caring to search for its owner and in that case, flyers at vet offices and other institutions can help you reunite with your bird.
Prepare ‘lost bird’ flyers and make lost bird reports to as many places as possible. This will be quite helpful. Place flyers somewhere around vet offices, markets, bird rescue centers, post offices, parks, pet stores, lampposts, and community boards.
Below are a few pointers on what things to keep in mind to make a flyer.
- A color photo with high clarity and if you don’t have your bird’s photo, get the most matching similar photo of the same breed from the internet.
- Mention the name of the bird and write what they respond to. For instance, a wolf whistle or his/her name.
- Clearly state if the bird speaks anything and what it is.
- Include the age and size of the bird.
- Mention the breed or species of the bird.
- Include your bird’s favorite food and treats.
- The most important thing to include is your phone number. If you forget to provide your correct phone number, the person who has your bird won’t be able to reach out to you.
- Offer reward at the end of your flyer. You don’t have to mention the reward to avoid receiving calls from fraudsters.
Do not mention any specific details about your pet on the flyer, for example, the details on the foot ring of the bird or special marks it has. Keeping specific details a secret will help you if a thief claims ownership of the bird.
The End Note
Losing a pet bird is the last thing that you would want to happen with your bird. If your bird flies away, don’t despair too soon. Patience is the key in this tough situation. There are cases where birds have reunited with the owners even after a few years. So don’t be hopeless and mindfully look for the bird as soon as you realize it’s disappeared. Please follow all the steps and if you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section below.