It’s always been one of your worst-case scenarios: a fellow family member leaves your bird’s cage open, and the bird flies out. Then it actually happened. Fortunately, you’re certain your bird is still in the house, but the question becomes where? And how to track them down?
Here’s how to find a lost bird in your house:
- Call out to them (it just might work!)
- Stop and listen
- Split up and search room by room
- Look up
- Let your other birds lure them back
- Bring their cage close to where you think they are
In today’s article, I’ll elaborate further on the above 5 tips as well as delve into an action plan for what to do if your pet bird ever ends up flying out the window. Even if you always keep your bird’s cage securer than Fort Knox, it’s not a bad idea to know how to handle your bird getting loose, so keep reading!
How to Find a Pet Bird Lost in Your House
Although it’s very upsetting to lose your bird, since all your doors and windows are closed, they couldn’t have gone far. The “divide and conquer” plan I’m about to discuss increases your chances of getting your bird back.
Call Out to Them
You’re not calling your bird’s name in the hopes they’ll fly right back to you. That could happen in some scenarios, but more than likely, your bird is frightened.
Your home looks massive to them and they’re not familiar with their surroundings, especially if they’re regularly in their cage.
Speaking to your bird could calm them, which will make them less likely to flit from room to room. That’s good, as an escapee bird that won’t stay still will only make your search efforts take longer and be that much more frustrating.
Stop and Listen
Once you say your bird’s name a few times, don’t keep doing it. Rather, stop for a moment and listen for a response.
Make sure that you’ve (slowly and carefully) turned off other sources of noise in the home such as the television and even the heater or air conditioner. You need to be able to hear your bird.
If they respond to your call or even give you a halfhearted whistle, that’s now a direction you can pursue.
Are you not quite sure the direction your bird responded from? Call them again and listen. You can always take a few steps, speak to them, wait for their response, and have your bird lead you to them that way.
Split up and Search Room by Room
Although there’s less urgency if you lose your bird somewhere within your house, you still want to cover as much ground as quickly as you can.
Doing it alone will take too long. If you have other members of the household, everyone should split up and begin looking for your bird.
However, it’s important to create some ground rules before you cut everyone loose. You don’t want each person in your search party to start calling for your bird, as that can be overwhelming.
Plus, the cacophony of voices could further frighten your bird, driving them deeper into hiding.
If someone else finds the bird, they should very calmly leave the room (maybe closing the door) without disturbing the pet. Then they should quietly tell you what they found.
Here’s the thing about birds: whatever the highest perch is, they want up. Many bird owners, when searching for their lost pet, make the mistake of looking for them at human eye level or slightly above.
To a bird, human eye level is not nearly a high enough perch. Looking in the wrong place can cause you to walk past your bird, who’s practically hiding in plain sight.
As you search, make sure you’re looking for whatever tall perches could be in each room of your home, from bookshelves to crown molding and everything in between. Tell the rest of your family who’s looking for the bird to scan higher towards the ceiling as well.
Let Your Other Birds Lure Them Back
Do you have other birds at home? If they’re still in their respective cages and they’re friendly with your lost bird, the other birds could lure the lost one back.
Like the sound of your voice is comforting to your bird, these birds’ voices can be as well.
If the lost bird hears the other birds babbling, cooing, or squawking, the sounds could entice the bird to come flying back near its cage.
Bring Their Cage Close to Where You Think They Are
You’ve found your lost pet bird. Phew! Now comes the hardest part, which is getting them back in their cage.
Although some birds who get loose are so paralyzed with fear that they barely go anywhere, others let adrenaline and fear take over.
They might not be paying attention to what they’re doing, so if you frighten them, you could inadvertently cause injuries.
Here’s how you collect your bird. Holding the bird’s cage, slowly make your way to the room where the bird is. The cage should be filled with all sorts of treats your bird loves, which will incentivize them to fly towards the cage.
When your bird comes near the cage, resist the urge to do anything. Let it happen. Once your bird is within the confines of the cage, close the door.
How to Find a Pet Bird Lost Outside of the House
Let’s talk about another nightmare scenario while we’re at it. In this situation, rather than lose your bird in the house, your poor pet has flown outside.
More so than ever, you cannot waste time, so you have to be ready to jump into action with the following measures.
Call Out to Your Bird
That’s right, you’re starting the same way you would if you lost your bird inside the house. If you’re outside and calling for your bird within a few minutes of them darting outside (or sooner), then they might be close enough that they can still hear you.
As I said before, birds can freak out when in new surroundings, which will prevent them from flying far. That depends on the personality of your bird though.
Look in the Right Places
Again, you’ll have to crane your neck to search for all perches around your neighborhood, as this is where your bird is likeliest to be. Check trees, awnings, and other high places that your eyes don’t naturally gravitate towards.
Use Comforting Sounds
If your own voice isn’t luring your bird down, you can always try other sounds they might find comforting. For instance, maybe you have a parakeet that likes classical music?
Try playing some tunes around where you last saw your bird.
The sounds of other birds can be comforting to your lost bird, but I don’t recommend you risk losing more birds by bringing your other pets outside. If anything, record your other birds chattering and then play it for your lost bird.
Rely on Friends and Neighbors
When your bird is lost outside, the sky is literally the limit. Don’t try to be a hero and find your bird by your lonesome. Ask your family members, neighbors, friends, and community members to join in on the search. The more people looking for your bird, the better the chances that he or she will be found!
If your initial efforts to recover your lost bird weren’t fruitful, now is no time to give up. Instead, you have to broaden the search.
I’d suggest printing fliers and putting them up around town. Get on social media and post about your bird, including photos, a description of the bird, and a short blurb on where they were when you last saw them and any reported sightings since.
Check Vets and Pet Stores
In the meantime, visit the local veterinarian’s offices and pet stores in your neck of the woods. Make sure before you go that the vet specializes in aviary pets; if they don’t, then they probably don’t have your bird.
Leave the Cage Out
It can take upwards of three days, but eventually, your domesticated bird will grow tired of its rough and tumble life outside. They’re not getting food anymore, it can be very cold or hot outdoors, and there’s no human interaction.
By this point, your bird is probably ready to go home, so capture takes far less effort. To entice your bird back into its cage, leave the cage in a familiar spot with the door open. Add toys and treats and lots of them so your bird can see as well as smell them.
Watch the cage, as if your bird returns, you have to act swiftly to close the cage door.
Tips for Preventing Pet Bird Escape
Whew! That was certainly an ordeal and not one you want to go through again anytime soon. To keep your bird safe and sound in the future, follow these tips.
Never Leave the Cage Door Open
This might go without saying, but it’s a critical reason that so many people accidentally lose their pet birds, both inside the house and outside. Even if the cage door is ajar, a particularly wily bird can wiggle their way out.
The cage door must be closed and secured. Teach your other family members to do the same.
Consider Locking the Cage
If your bird is a Houdini type who can pry open their own cage door, that’s problematic. By installing a lock on the door, it will now be a lot more difficult for your bird to finagle their way to freedom.