A Network for Lost Pet Birds
Found a lost pet bird? There's a network for that!
When a pet bird escapes or is lost, often they are out for a few days. Most pet birds fly only a few miles from home at maximum and when they land they will often land near or on a person's shoulder or head. Don't panic, these are just like lost dogs and cats that are coming to you, meowing for help! But thankfully, there’s a network for lost birds and you should join it the minute you find a lost bird or lose one of yours.
What should I do if I found a lost bird?
Calmly and slowly take the bird inside a house or car. It’s important to know that if the bird lands on your shoulder or head, let them stay there until you can get them inside a contained area! Some birds aren’t friendly with hands but they love shoulders/heads. Once you have them in a contained area like a car or house, place them into whatever box you may have available (punch some holes in it first!) If you can, find or buy a cheap, tiny cage (Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, any pet store ever..) and some water-rich fruits and veggies cut into small pieces.
Wait, why not seed? Don’t all birds eat seed?
Yes, but birds that have been outside for a few days are dehydrated and hungry, often because they don’t know how to find clean drinking water and food. Unfortunately, birds have pretty sensitive systems and regular seed/pellets will dehydrate them after having been outside – and they landed on you because they knew they were already feeling sick. Birds do not handle sickness well- they are known to pass away within 24 hours of them showing symptoms to humans. Once a vet has cleared them, get a recommendation of appropriate food and care for that bird. Here’s a link to good info about what to feed a found bird.
What’s this about a vet?
Keep the bird VERY warm (blanket on the bottom, heating pad if you have one, or hot water bottle) and take the bird to the nearest vet you can ASAP. Bonus points if it's an Avian vet, which are normal vets but they know how to treat birds! If you are unable to keep the bird, ask for an experienced bird person nearby (or the vet) to take the bird into their care. Type in “Avian Vet, Your City” or check out a few of these links. Also, keep an eye out for medical professionals who might have monetary incentives to prescribe certain medications!
Also recommended- look on Nextdoor.com and check to see if there is a Lost Pets website for your city/area. If you can print out a few signs and post them around the block, you might have better luck at locating the birds owner.
How will I know who the owner truly is?
Take note of any identifying marks on the bird such as a leg bad/lack of band, the numbers and color of the band (this can be tracked to the breeder of the bird). Take note of any mannerisms or words/sounds the bird responds to. Ask the potential owner if their bird speaks and what it can say. Then watch the bird react to the owners – if it’s immediately desperate (pacing, chirping upon seeing them, different than normal behavior upon someone entering your house, etc.) chances are they're the owners. Thanks to this huge network that grows daily, more and more birds are being reunited with their owners.
What if the owner never contacts?
If it’s been a few months, that’s more than enough time for an owner to find you. Congrats on having a new little friend, or you may consider finding a good home with a well-trained bird owner around you!
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