If your parrot has escaped the home, this is one of the most frightening scenarios any bird owner can face. A brightly colored domestic bird is at risk from many types of predators, is not well suited to the weather conditions we sometimes face here, and will have few innate survival skills.
This means that finding your lost parrot in the first place needs to be handled quickly, and knowing where to look can be a challenge of its own; but another challenge that can be just as great is catching your parrot or getting them back to safety when you have found them.
Some parrots will stay close to home and even deliberately keep you and/or their home in sight, and might actually appear to be taunting you by flatly refusing to cooperate and staying just out of reach; and it is true that your bird might be at risk of predators while they continue in this manner.
However, the upside of a bird that stays close is that they’re probably going to actually come down or back in when they’ve had enough, it gets a bit cold, or they’re getting tired.
In this sort of scenario you really just need to commit to ensuring you (or someone else if this goes on for a long time and you have to take turns) keep them in sight or at least in earshot at all times, and are ready to close them into their cage when they do decide their adventure is over!
However, if your parrot got lost and isn’t close to home and/or shows no signs of being willing to saunter back in when the mood takes them but they have been located and you can see them or know for sure where they are – there are a number of approaches to actually catching them or tempting them back into their cage.
There are also a number of approaches to catching a lost parrot that are highly likely to backfire on you and scare or annoy your bird and even make them take off, which you should obviously learn about too in order to avoid.
This article will tell you the best approaches to take to catch a lost parrot, and things you should not do to try to catch a pet bird too. Read on to learn more.
Always have the cage ready and make it appealing
First of all, take the cage with you everywhere when you’re looking for your bird. You won’t be able to get your bird home safely holding them physically, and you might lose them again if you have to go home or even a few hundred yards back to the car to get the cage.
The cage should be tempting if your bird spots it too; their favourite things or treats in it ready for them!
Bring food, treats and toys
On which note, bring with you anything you know your bird likes and responds to, like a certain treat or toy; something that has a sound is really helpful too if they can hear it, like the bell on a mirror they spend hours preening in front of.
Try hard not to lose sight of your bird once you have located them
Once you know where your bird is, do everything you can to keep them in sight. If you have to leave, your bird might move to another location without you knowing, or they might retreat again if they were considering coming to you.
If you do need to leave for any reason, try to get someone else to watch for you in the meantime.
Be patient; and prepared to look crazy!
You might have to prepare yourself to be in it for the long haul when it comes to catching your bird and getting them to come to you. Seriously, take water, snacks, a rug or something to sit on; it might take hours and if you get annoyed or exasperated and your parrot picks up on this, you will deter them not encourage them.
Also, you’re quite possibly going to look a little nuts to passers-by, sitting in the park or wherever with an empty bird cage, chatting to a tree… But remember that it will be worth it when your parrot is home safe.
Assess the surroundings and try to negate anything that might be deterring your bird from coming to you
On which note, if lots of people are gathered talking to you or stopping to see what you’re doing, this might actually be putting your bird off coming down. Always be totally polite and respectful, but also, let people who are well meaning but not actually helping know that they might be making things harder for you and encourage them to move on.
Consider your wider surroundings too, and factor in if there’s anything else that might be scaring your bird or discouraging them from coming to you, and what you could do about this.
Talk, and play call-and-response with your bird
Try to get your bird talking or engaging with you, and they might be more likely to come to you; anything you can do to get your bird to focus on you and be interested in you will help.
Wait until dusk
When the sun goes down and dusk approaches is probably the most likely time that a bird that has been giving you the run-around will come to you if there are no barriers to this; because this is the sort of time that they’d normally be settling down to roost at, so dusk is generally the most likely time for you to succeed!
How not to catch a parrot
Well-meaning passers by and some poorly informed online advice (and sometimes, even just instinct) might be suggesting several ways to catch your parrot that will actually probably just scare them off; unless your bird is literally within reach already, wait for them to come to you.
Counterproductive ways to try to catch your parrot include getting a ladder or otherwise trying to climb to meet them in a tree, throwing a net, or throwing water or using a hose on them.