How To Recapture An Escaped Parrot


We receive clients with a fairly frequent issue in our many years as breeders and maintaining an aviary. They’re replacing a bird who flew away or fled. They are replacing their bird since they miss it.

That is unfortunate. They would not have lost their bird if they had taken some simple measures. Were the wings cut in order to keep them from flying? Do you leave them unsupervised in their cage? Do you leave them in a cage that isn’t adequately secured?

One event that stands out in my recollection was when we went to a bird show. One of the merchants was holding a cockatiel-filled bird cage. It was one of those cheap cages, and the bottom tray slid straight off! His birds took off in all directions!

It would have taken less than a minute to fasten the tray to the cage with a few wire ties.

THE BEST SOLUTION IS PREVENTION

  • Remove the bird’s wings. They can’t escape if they can’t fly!
  • Take additional precautions if your windows lack screens…
  • Keep the bird in its cage Escape-proof your cage. They will figure out that latch unless you put some effort into it! They even know how to open the food dish door!
  • If you take your bird outdoors, ensure sure the cage or carrier is securely fastened! This includes the doors, trays, and cage foundation!
  • Clipped birds may still fly a limited distance…
  • Take caution if you leave them uncaged outdoors.
  • Prepare a capture strategy. Purchase a net, long poles, and more cages.
  • Keep images, notes of distinguishing characteristics, and band numbers on hand for identification.

THE CAPTURE

It is critical that you retrieve your bird within a few days. Captive birds have no idea where to go for food and are prey for predators (cats, other birds, etc…). They will not live more than a few days under bad weather conditions.

The ideal times to photograph them are early in the morning or late in the evening. They won’t be moving around much yet, so you may focus your efforts in one place.

Put the bird’s mate or another bird of the same species in a tiny cage, then put that cage inside a bigger cage. Fill the cage with food to persuade the bird to enter.

If he doesn’t come for the mate, place some food inside the cage. You want the bird to be hungry but not starving, and if he is overfed, he will not return regularly.

Prepare a garden hose. Wet birds don’t fly well, and when they do, it takes a lot of energy to get them airborne. They will get too fatigued to fly after becoming wet and after a brief pursuit, and you should be able to catch it.

If everything else fails, you’ll have to attempt to figure out where the bird is resting and sneak up on it at night to catch it. Some breeders have informed me they play recordings of their aviary, and the bird will sometimes either cry back to them, or may fly back to “visit”.

Hopefully, you will never experience this emergency. But if it happens, you now have several options for recapturing your pet.

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