Pet Faves is joining with PetHub and other Pet Bloggers for Lost Pet Prevention Month to provide resources that will help pet parents prevent and recover lost pets.
It can happen in the blink of an eye. You step outside forgetting your bird is on your shoulder, they get startled and you are watching them fly away. Your bird is lost.
A lost pet is tragic for all pet parents. Not knowing where they are or if they are safe causes every emotion possible to run through you. You might think they are gone forever, but there are steps you can take to get your bird home.
What To Do When You Bird Is Lost
Try not to despair. Birds make it home even when it seems like they’ve disappeared. A lost bird does add a whole other dimension to it because your bird can take to the air and get very far away very quickly. Now along with looking everywhere on the ground like you would with a dog and cat, you have to also keep your eyes toward the sky watching for any sight of them in the sky, trees or on buildings.
Here are some actions you can take to increase the chance of being reunited.
What to do immediately after your bird flies away
Try to remain calm. Hard to do given what just happened, but when we get upset we don’t act like ourselves often getting louder and making more animated than normal. This can make your bird wary if you try to approach them and cause them to move or fly further away, so stop, breath, and try to gather your thoughts.
What to do if your lost bird is still in the vicinity
Assess where they went. Which direction did they go in? Did they land somewhere? Did they land in a safe spot?
Before trying to retrieve your bird, you may want prepare by getting treats and a carrier especially if they are located out of your reach..
If they are in sight, calmly approach the location and encourage them to come to you. Use a favorite treat to entice them. Move their cage with food and water to within their sight. Because it’s something that is very familiar to them, they may fly down to it. If you have another bird and you can safely and securely take them outside they may lure your bird to come down. This may take some time and patience as your bird is going to be stressed and you don’t want to make them more stressed.
It is tempting to want to prop a ladder up or get a tree service to come, but this activity, especially by people that might not be familiar to your bird could scare your bird and cause them to fly off. This should be saved for emergency situations.
IMPORTANT: If your bird is on or near a telephone pole or wires, DO NOT attempt to climb the pole or use a ladder to get the bird. You could be electrocuted.
What to do if your lost bird is no longer in sight
Continue to look throughout your area moving out as you search. They may still be nearby. They will be scared so may not make any noise that would draw your attention.
You want to make as many people aware of your lost bird so if they see it, they know someone is looking for it.
- Call. Contact local animals shelters and rescues, pet stores, bird breeders, veterinarians, zoos, police, wildlife rescues even state wildlife offices. You never know who someone will contact when they see a strange bird in their yard.
- Alert on social media. Share on your personal profile asking other to share. Share in any local and state related groups. We have local lost pet groups as well as groups for our town. There are also state groups for lost pets and there may be a state/regional bird group. There are national groups like 911 Parrot Alert to post to. Post on Craigslist and any other local websites that allow it.
- Pass out and post flyers. Seems old fashioned but you want to reach as many people as possible. A flyer will also make your lost bird stand out the person looking at.
- Place a lost newspaper ad. There are some people who aren’t on computers and you want to reach them too. Many newspapers offer free lost and found ads.
- Alert local media. Call local TV and radio stations. While they might not do a story, they will have your info if anyone calls in.
While doing these things, don’t stop going out and looking for your bird on foot. Get out early in the morning before birds become active to try and spot him. Let everyone you see including delivery drivers, postal carriers, etc. know about your bird and how they can contact you if spotted.
Follow up on as many sightings as possible. Monitor or have someone you know monitor social media, online ads, and offline ads for found birds as well as birds for sale. Be cautious though as there are people who will try to take advantage and scam you.
Preventing Your Bird From Becoming Lost
Accidents happen, but you want to the risks of them getting lost as much as possible. Be aware of where your bird is whenever the door opens. Have others use a different entrance when visiting while your bird is out. Check yourself for a bird passenger on your shoulder before you go outside.
Don’t take your bird outside unless they are in a cage, carrier or wearing a harness
Teach your bird to recall to you. This way your bird will be comfortable flying to you.
The wing clipping controversy
People often feel that because they clip their bird’s wings they don’t have to worry about losing their birds. But clipping isn’t a guarantee that a bird won’t get lost for a few reasons.
- It’s easy to not be aware of how much of the feathers have grown back. Feathers aren’t molted at the same time and the bird may not make any attempt to fly that would alert you to them being grown in enough for them to fly.
- Some lighter weight birds can still fly with clipped wings although it might not be great flying. But all it takes it catching the wind a certain way to give them some lift which can take them down a hill, in the path of a car or other danger.
- Birds who are clipped may not be strong skilled flyers which can be dangerous outdoors where they have to fly with the wind and around buildings and trees and as well as reluctant to fly down to you.
While we hope it will never happen, knowing what to do if it ever should happen will help get your bird home as quick as possible. I recommend reading these sites so you can be as prepared as possible:
Good Bird Inc lost parrot video rental- Get Your Bird Back