Lost Bird

Help! I lost my bird!


When your bird flies away, it can be a very scary time, but the sooner you take action, the better chance of capturing your bird.

For more resources, flyer templates and to create a lost bird report please visit 911 Parrot Alert.

Your immediate first steps

  • Phone a friend! The more eyes and hands you have to help, the better. A helper will enable you to keep an eye on the bird while your friend helps with other tasks.
  • Bring your bird’s enclosure outside in a safe and secure but also highly visible environment with food (preferably a favorite treat) and water, with the door open. If possible, have someone stay behind to monitor in case the bird returns so the cage door can be closed at that time. If your bird has a companion, bring that bird out in a separate, closed cage if it is safe to do so.
  • Search by foot or bicycle in the immediate radius where you last saw the bird, expanding your search area as needed, while also considering the bird’s direction of travel, if known.
  • While you should keep your eyes to the skies, including rooftops, poles, wires, and tree canopies, it is also important to check in ground-level bushes and trees, as well as other structures. A spooked bird may be hiding.
  • Look, but also listen – listen for your bird’s unique call, and follow the direction of that sound if heard.
  • Enlist nearby neighbors or friends to expand your search area. Communicate about what areas are being covered by who, and slowly expand, remaining within a circle, working your way outward. This helps ensure you are covering every possible area and not missing the bird by jumping around from place to place.
  • Search until it is too dark to continue. Chances are that your bird will not travel far at night. Once dark, move on to the next steps to continue your efforts.
  • Be outside ready to search BEFORE the sun comes up in the morning.
  • For additional tips, checklists & MP3’s of Parrot Calls:  https://www.goodbirdinc.com/help-lostbirdflyers.html

What to do if you locate your bird

  • Most importantly, do not lose track of the bird once spotted.
    • Stay as long as you can; enlist a group to keep track of the bird around the clock if necessary.
  • Calmly move toward your bird while speaking in a calm tone, frequently using your bird’s name and any familiar phrases.
  • If someone can safely bring a caged companion bird to the location, the bird may be coaxed to return by a familiar face or sound.
  • Encourage your bird to fly to you by offering a favorite treat. If your bird is recall trained, attempt recall.
  • If you have a familiar enclosure or play stand, position it close to where the bird is in hopes the bird will fly to this area. Ensure food and water are available here.
  • Avoid doing anything to spook your bird, including throwing things at the bird to “scare them down” – this is more than likely going to spook the bird into flying to another location, causing you to lose track.
  • If your bird is high in a tree, the bird will eventually become thirsty and hungry and will come down, potentially going to a lower tree.
  • An unskilled flyer may attempt to fly to you or a cage, but miss the target. Be alert and have a towel ready throughout the process.
  • Captive birds are not skilled at flying “down”. If you are calling your bird down from a high tree, remember to stand away from the tree to decrease the angle at which your bird needs to fly to get to you.

If you still have not found your bird, get the word out

  • Recruit others to assist in your search beyond your neighborhood by posting on social media.
  • Create a Lost Bird Report on 911 Parrot Alert:  https://www.911parrotalert.com/
  • Create a lost bird flyer and a Master Post on your personal Facebook timeline (ensure it is set to “public” so others can share it). This will enable you to add updates to the post that will also update across any shared posts.
  • Share your Master Post to:
    • Local lost and found Facebook groups.
    • Your neighborhood group as well as surrounding neighborhoods.
    • Your local bird stores and parrot clubs. If you are in St. Louis, share to the Gateway Parrot Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GateWayParrotClub/
  • In addition to Facebook, maximize exposure by posting to Twitter, Instagram, Nextdoor, Reddit …etc.
  • Call your veterinarian and surrounding veterinarians.
  • Call your county’s animal control and animal shelters.
  • Create printed fliers with your bird’s information and post and hang around the neighborhood. Use page protector sheets or gallon ziplock bags to ensure your fliers stay dry.

Even if it has been a few days, do not become discouraged. As your bird is not a skilled flyer or forager, the chances of them showing themselves and looking for help increase as they become hungry, dehydrated, and tired.

Once you capture your bird

  • Offer unlimited water and a small amount of food right away.
  • Examine your bird for injuries.
  • Understand that your bird may be out of sorts for a while. Be patient and understanding during this readjustment process. Offer a balanced amount of affection while respecting that your bird may need some peace and quiet.
  • Take your bird to an avian veterinarian for a checkup, even if the bird was not gone for long – anything could have happened during the excursion and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Also, consider discussing the potential of microchipping your bird. Ask the veterinarian for a recommended re-feeding schedule to avoid your bird eating too much at once as to avoid possible damage.

FYI – Beware of Scams: Unfortunately, there are some who like to prey on owners with missing pets. If you ever receive a text stating your bird has been found, but a verification code is needed – please block the number immediately. Do not ever send a code. Read more about the scam at 911 Parrot Alert’s Resources for Lost & Found Parrots.