HAMILTON & DISTRICT BUDGERIGAR SOCIETY INC.

HELP, MY BIRD HAS ESCAPED MY HOME


What you can try if your pet bird escapes:

If you happen to have your bird escape out a window or a door and fly away this can be very devastating. When the weather is warmer than 60 degrees F., you can place the cage outside on a table or chair. If the bird was by itself you could place food dishes and/or spray millet and water outside the cage to entice it, and inside and hope the bird recognizes its home and comes back and goes inside. If the bird had a partner and you placed it outside in its closed cage, its calls may get the attention of the escaped bird if it has not gone too far and it may come to the cage. If it is hand trained you may be able to recapture it and return it inside. Sometimes pet birds will hook up with wild birds and find food. Budgies have been known to follow sparrows and finches and live outside with no problem unless its from a freezing climate which it would probably not survive very long. You can also place posters up or tell your neighbors to watch out for it and notify you if they see it. If you lose an expensive bird you should place an ad in newspapers and ask if local radio and TV stations would help you advertise it in case someone finds it. You can also place flyers on telephone poles and inside nearby stores.

If the bird had a partner you should find a new partner for it as birds can get attached to their own kind and would be missed by a mate or friend.

Things to do to protect your pet bird:
A parakeet that is locked up all the time is a miserably bored creature, whereas one that is allowed to spend all day, or at least most of it, on its bird tree or top of its cage and fly around in an open room leads as ideal a life as possible for a bird in captivity. But the more lively and enterprising a bird is, the more dangers lurk in a room designed for human living. But flying away is by far the greatest danger. A parakeet is a nimble acrobat and, like a snake, manages to fit through even the tiniest openings. A nomad by instinct, a parakeet has no need for the inborn ability to orient itself by landmarks or other visual stimuli. Living wild in Australia with always the flock to follow as the birds roam across the interior of the continent, parakeets have no permanent homes or territories. A parakeet that escapes from its owner's home therefore has very little chance to find its way back. The farther it gets from its familiar surroundings the greater its panic and the faster it flies. Most birds perish after they fly from home, unless someone finds them by chance or they are smart enough to follow wild birds and copy their food and water habits.
And there are many opportunities of escape for a parakeet:

  • Doors and windows that are left open.
  • Scrabbling out of the cage while the gravel tray is out of food or water is being changed.
  • A cage door that does not shut properly or that the bird has learned to open.
  • Bars on the cage that are loose or bent so that the bird can squeeze through between them.
  • The bird has a habit of sitting on its keeper's head or shoulder and is carried out into the open absentmindedly.
  • A visitor can inadvertently carry it out if it lands on a hat or heavy coat.
  • And a bird can fly off, especially out of fright.

    Many owners of parakeets think that their bird cannot get out through a window hidden behind curtains or venetian blinds. But parakeets like to climb up on the slats, find even the tiniest opening, and climb down the other side. From there a bird is likely to take off for the wide world within a few minutes. All windows should therefore have screens. A light wood frame, the size of the window opening, covered with regular window screening or hardware cloth can be mounted on the outside of the window. Then the room can be aired without danger of the bird escaping. Even a totally tame parakeet that has always stayed close to its human companion--near open windows, on the balcony, when taking out the garbage, on the way to the car--may after years of no incidents be frightened by a sudden bang, fly up in panic, and disappear. The bird will not be able to find its way back. If you wonder whether you will be able to protect your parakeets from all these dangers, you might consider whether your birds would not be more safely housed in an indoor aviary. But if you choose this option the aviary has to be large enough to give the birds ample room for flying. It also has to be completely birdproof and allow for easy cleaning down to the farthest corner.

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    E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca

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    Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.