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What to Do if a Pet Bird Flies Away

If a pet bird flies away, it's in danger sometimes even from well-meaning neighbors who might shoot it to get it down from a tree. Look here for safe, humane ways to protect pet parrots from flying away and what to do if they do.

When their African grey parrot got out, a neighbor persuaded Brenda and Dan that the easiest way to get the bird out of a tree was to shoot it with a BB gun. Nobody can say for sure that Simba was hit. Observers do know he took flight from his very high perch, circled frantically, and Brenda and Dan haven't seen him since.

"Start by staying calm," says Mattie Sue Athan, world-famous parrot behavior consultant and author of eight books on parrot behavior. "If their neighbor's aim is as bad as his advice, the bird will be fine. With luck, Simba will show up at a backyard bird feeder. If wounded, he could be in pain and slow-flying lunch for a hawk."

Companion parrots are often accidentally released during warm months. Trimmed wing feathers usually regrow by April or May every year. Accidents happen. If the bird is chased, it may become more frightened and keep flying. Follow as closely as possible without running. Maintain sight and sound of the bird. Continue vocal contact, even if it can't be seen, as parrots love to call back and forth.

When enticing a bird to fly, pay attention to wind direction, as a bird must extend the wings and face into the wind for lift when taking off. A bird unaccustomed to flying is most likely to climb down. Don't take unnecessary climbing risks, and be especially careful around power lines.

If the bird's location is unknown, report it as missing property to police and animal control, otherwise, the police may not assist in getting it back. This is one of the points of law that could be difficult if pets were not classified as property.

A parrot doesn't just disappear; someone will see it. Be friendly, network with friends, neighbors, and strangers on the street. Post advertising, including handbills seeking anybody who has seen the bird. Never give up. It usually takes less than a day to recover a bird but it can take weeks, months, or sometimes as long as a year.

Athan has retrieved every bird she's been contracted to recover in her 27-year career. She's still taking care of another parrot that is handicapped from being shot as a recapture process. Shooting a parrot, even with a cheap BB gun, can kill, maim, or frighten it so much that it will be more difficult, if not impossible, to recover. And, of course, it's a lot easier to keep a bird's wing feathers trimmed than to find and retrieve it. Today is the day to update safe, effective wing-feather trims for pet birds. More information about Mattie Sue Athan's recapture, grooming, and parrot behavior services can be found at

For more articles about NATURE & KIDS

Young Birders Get Serious About Birding Fun
The Squirrel Family 0 Backyard Nature Safari
Hamsters are rodents and cuddly pets
Kids Learning Links
Buddy's Diner (for the birds)
Bird Profiles for Young Naturalists

For more articles about BIRDS, BIRDS, BIRDS!

Bird Profiles for Young Natguralists
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red Breasted Nuthatch
Carolina House Wren
White Breasted Nuthatch
Tufted Titmouse
Prothonotary Warbler
Hairy Woodpecker
Eastern Bluebirds
Downey Woodpecker
Purple Martin