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What to do if you Lost, Found, or are trying to catch a Bird


  Lost your Buddy?  There is a lot you can do!

If you go to the "I'm Home" page and read how the birds got home you will find that the vast majority of birds fly within a few blocks of home jumping from one tree to the next during the first few days. So you have to act fast. After that it is hard to say how far they will travel. So far most have stayed within a few miles with the farthest being 30 miles and that was a macaw.

Within a day, most lost birds fly to a person for help and are taken in.

Make up at least 200 fliers. Of course go to the Animal Control Center, Vet Offices, Pet Stores, newspapers (don’t forget to check the found ads daily), radio and TV. Go around the neighborhood (radius at least 4 blocks then increasing as time goes by) knocking on all doors, tell them the situation (show emotion), and give them a flyer.

Talk to mail carriers, meter readers, children playing outside, dog walkers, gardeners, people at garage sales--get the idea? Give them a flyer. When you talk to people ask them to tell people too. Then go to parking lots and place the flyer on parked cars, go around to businesses, stores, public swimming pools, beauty shops, bars, schools all bulletin boards, etc.

Find any place you can place a flyer and post it there. Get the word out. Get people to understand the emotion behind this lost bird. When you hear people in the neighborhood calling your bird’s name, you know you've done your job!

Our readers have asked that we pass on additional information and most of all they wanted you to know, “Never Give Up!”

A very concerned person in the UK wanted to share with you some good information she gained while searching for her bird. Maybe it will help you too. Here’s her thoughts:

When you lost sight of your parrot.

  • Place the bird's cage in the garden with the birds' favorite food. You can play the birds' voice recorded, or move the cage of the most vocal bird in your house at the window. If the bird is in earshot, it might find its way back.
  • Contact the following - (Keep records of all contacts. You can notify them when you find your bird.):
  • Bird Hot line (World wide):
    Police stations
    Veterinary surgeries
    Local animal Sanctuaries
    RSPCA Tel 08705 555 999 (Avoid weekends due to congestion)
    Pet shops
    Local bird clubs
    Local bird breeders
    Local radio stations
    Paper boys
    Your bird's breeder when the bird can be traced back from its ring number.
    As many people as possible, e.g. dog walkers, neighbors, gardeners.
    Parrot Society - John Hayward Tel/Fax 01869 325 699
    Pet Search (UK)
    Parrot Link
    Other Bird related web sites
  • Notices in local newspapers
  • Although we put notices into over 5 papers for three weeks, they didn't yield anything much, partly because they were too small, and partly because some of them were placed under 'announcement' section which fewer people check. If your bird was picked up by someone, the person might check the LOST section, if there is. Consider the size and placement of your notices beforehand.

    4 Notices on the Radio

    We asked three local radio stations, two of them kindly agreed to make a spot news announcement about Lala. When your bird could have flown some distance, a radio announcement helps a lot. We had had a number of calls from radio listeners.

    5 Print posters and flyers

    Describe your bird's color, size, whether it has a ring, whether tame or not, whether it talks, if so, particular words, and any other distinctive features.

    We inserted two pictures of Lala for a poster and one for leaflets. See the examples. Pictures definitely does draw people's attention, and can reduce reports about other escaped birds.

    When you mention a reward, don't mention the amount, otherwise you may receive nuisance calls.

    Mark the places you put posters up on a map. You can see which parts of your town you haven't covered at a glance. You can also remove them quickly when you find your bird.

    Some places to put up posters:

    Pet shops
    Veterinary surgeries
    Church notice boards
    Community centers
    Local notice boards
    Parking/Park and Ride
    Wooden posts, e.g.. telephone poles (where it is legal)
    Bars or Cocktail lounges
    Pass out to gardeners, mail carriers, UPS people, children (in general people outside a lot)

    How to make weather proof posters at home:

    A. For wooden posts and notice boards:

    We used A4 sized plastic punched filing pockets in order to make the posters water-proof; use them upside down so that all rain and dew will run off over the surface and not get inside. When there are wooden posts and notice boards, you can staple gun to them. Be sure to make it difficult for them to be torn. Staple as many places as possible on both sides as well as top and bottom. A couple of staples in the middle of posters make them more difficult to be torn.

    B. Metal posts:

    If you can't find wooden posts, then you have to tie the posters on metal posts. Cut cardboard to the size of posters. We used clear zip lock bags to protect the cardboard from rain; again upside down. Make two sets of two holes on the cardboard for strings. Put a piece of string through the holes. Then staple a poster (prepared as above) onto the cardboard. You can, then, tie them securely.

    Convenient gadgets to have:

    Answering machine - This is very useful when you can't stay home or you have to go out searching. I think it is a must unless there is always somebody is in.

    Binoculars - We live close to woods and field where they were useful.

    Mobile phones - They are useful when one person goes out to search, and another stays home.

    You will have sleepless or restless nights, and get exhausted from long walking. Please eat properly, although you may not have much appetite. You have to be fit enough to rescue your bird. You are also vulnerable, I have read news about a couple who had been looking for their lost bird for some months. There was a phone call from a lady who told them that she had bought a sick bird of the same species from a traveler out of sympathy. When the couple went to see the bird, their house was broken into, and what's worse the bird was not theirs.

    You are naturally depressed. Talk to somebody who understands how important the bird is to you. We felt better after talking with dog walkers, pet owners, vets etc. whilst searching. Even after five weeks, a dog walker told me that she had been looking around every day while she had walked dog in the field. When a parrot was reported to a vet in a village nearby, we had three phone calls about it. We also kept watching Pet Rescue just to reassure ourselves that there are very kind people to animals. Don't give up your hope. There are people who are willing to help you and your bird, and know how you feel.

    * * * * * *

    Tips to finding and Coaxing Down a Grey: (Applies to most birds.)

    1. Always look for a grey BEFORE sun-up while it is still dark, and AFTER sundown. They are the most vocal then, and the most active.

    2. Day 3 is when they get hungry and try to come in for food, they will go to just about any one at that time if they are tame.

    3. ALWAYS have a recording of your grey when he is playing and having the most fun. Play this recording intermittently as you look for him.

    4. Throw food on rooftops. Place a small cage on the roof of your house, or anyone's where they grey has been seen.

    5. Tell people to put him in a pillow case, and have friends carrying pillowcases while looking, or small cages. Sometimes greys are caught by inexperienced holders and they don't know what to do with them.

    6. Water hoses do work if you can spray him shortly after his escape. Hit him with as much water as you can all at once. He is heavy from not having exercise, and the water throws him off enough to ground him for a bit. Do not drench just before dark unless you are sure you can get him.

    7. If possible contact organizations 50 miles away. Sometimes people find them while traveling and go home with them. Greys can also get that far just flying.

    8. Give all the children in the neighborhood a buck and tell them there is more if they can locate your bird. Kids tell on people that are hiding them also. Normally Police will not help you retrieve a bird from someone else's home. You have to plan that one very carefully if they decide they want to keep your bird.

    9. Have someone watch the bird at all times if he is spotted and you need to go for help.

    10. If you try to climb the tree, it often times scares them up. A long branch may be better to coax him onto. Use your head here. Raise his cage to where he is.

    11. Have friends and family miles away in other cities watch the lost and found ads.

    12. If he is roosted near dark, wait until dark before trying to retrieve him. They don't fly well at night, and they don't want to fly, but make sure you don't miss. You may use a high powered flashlight to momentarily blind the bird while another person nets or grabs the bird.

    13. If sighted, keep the mobs of people away, and let the owner try and coax him down. Have your helping friends in tall trees or on roof tops to watch where he goes if he takes off. You NEED spotters prepared.

    * * * * * * *

    Over the years there have been even more creative ideas submitted such as trying a psychic (while we are not informed on the subject, we know that some of you may be looking for one). So here’s a website for your review. Jane Hallander at

    * * * * * * *

    Coaxing a Bird Down

    See if you can find a Bird Rescue team in your area. Tree climbers often scare the bird. If he hasn't come down yet get his favorite food and start eating it in front of him. Does he like cheese, popcorn etc. Have sheets, towels, a net etc. ready. He may just fly down when enticed by the food but remember his safety is up high. So you have to create safety. Verify nothing is around which might scare him. If it's a safe tree, you can climb it. They will just sit and wait for your finger watching you climb all the way. (The little Rascals.) Remember take something up with you like a bag or towel so you can hold onto them on the way down.

    Another method is to spray the bird lightly at first not to scare the bird then gradually build up the volume of water until the bird can’t fly. (Make sure you do this earlier in the day, so if it doesn’t work, he isn’t wet at night). While wet get him to fly and be prepared below.

    Found a Bird, Now what?

    If the bird is healthy he probably recently got out which normally means his home is close. Provide water immediately. Obtain some bird seed as appropriate to the bird’s size. There is small hook bill and large hook bill. You can offer him fresh broccoli, corn, apples, oranges and/or air popped pop corn. Provide him a safe quiet place to settle down. There should be no cats or dogs that might threaten him. Be sure the cage area is covered at night so if he gets scared he won’t be able to fly and hurt himself plus he won’t get any drafts. Also be careful that the cage is not in the direct sun or in a drafty area, either one could be fatal.

    Post on the Bird HotLine: and of course any other website you can find.

    Call the newspaper and put an ad in their lost and found.

    Call the Humane Society, local pet stores, vets. Give them your name, how you can be reached and a description of the bird. If you can’t care for the bird properly tell them and see if they can provide a good home until the bird’s family can be found.

    Make up fliers and post at businesses, stores, public swimming pools, beauty shops, bars, schools all bulletin boards etc.

    Pat yourself on the back for helping one little unhappy bird be reunited with one very depressed family. Remember it takes time to find his family so don’t assume that if you haven’t heard anything in a couple of weeks that it won’t happen. Make sure you leave out some important information when describing the bird so you will know when you have found his family. The true test will actually happen when they are reunited. You will be able to tell that they are family from their reaction when greeting each other for the first time.

    "Take me back to the Home Page!"


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