What to Do When You Find a Pet Bird
Have you found a pet bird and aren’t sure what to do? This isn’t an everyday situation by any means, so it’s understandable to need some guidance — especially if you’re unfamiliar with the needs of pet birds. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to care for the bird until you’re able to return it to its home. In this blog, we’ll walk you through these steps and give you the tips you need to find the bird’s rightful owner.
Identifying a Lost Pet Bird
When you encounter what you suspect is a lost pet bird, the first step will always be identifying if the bird is a pet or if it’s wild. While it may sometimes be obvious, keep in mind that even non-native species of birds, such as parrots, have been able to breed in the wild. So, even if you see a bird that would normally be a pet, that doesn’t guarantee that it is one. With that in mind, here are some tips for identifying a pet bird:
- Observe the bird — Take a look at the size, color and any distinguishing features of the bird. If you’re able to determine the species of the bird, it will go a long way to helping you determine if the bird is a pet or a wild bird.
- Note the bird’s behavior — If the bird seems comfortable around humans or acts like it may be domesticated, you may have found a lost pet bird. Note behavior like a bird approaching people or comfortably entering an indoor area. On the flip side, a bird that is skittish and avoids humans could be a wild bird.
- Check online — It’s always a good idea to use online resources to help you identify a specific species of bird. These resources can help you precisely identify the species based on its appearance, which will be invaluable when you’re attempting to find the bird’s owner.
Securing and Caring for the Found Bird
If you’ve identified a bird as a lost pet, the next step will be to safely secure the bird and care for it until you can reunite the bird with its owner. Here are some steps you can follow to secure and care for a found bird:
- Safely capture the bird — Make sure to safely obtain the bird and bring it home with you. If it seems accustomed to humans, it might get right into a box or cage you offer it.
- Create a safe space — Once you bring the bird home, set up a designated area where the bird can feel secure. Make the room quiet for the bird and keep out other pets since you don’t know what the bird’s home environment is typically like.
- Provide food and water — Make sure the bird has fresh water and food. A clean bowl with water from the tap will suffice, and birds can eat bird seed, some fruits and some vegetables. Make sure to look up what birds can eat and consult a veterinarian or avian specialist for guidance.
- Provide perches and toys — Birds get bored just like everyone else, so make sure to provide them with perches and some safe toys that can keep them entertained as you seek out their owner.
- Avoid handling the bird excessively — Keep in mind that the bird may be stressed and that you don’t know how often they’re handled at home. Try to keep handling to a minimum, only doing it at essential times, like providing them with fresh food and water or cleaning the cage.
- Consult a veterinarian — Schedule a visit to the veterinarian to have the bird checked for any health issues and to ensure they are properly cared for.
Reporting the Lost Bird
After you find a lost bird, it’s best to start taking steps to report the bird as found as soon as possible. This can significantly increase the chances of reuniting the bird with its owner. Here are some steps to follow when reporting a lost bird:
- Contact local animal shelters and rescue organizations — Reach out to nearby animal shelters and rescues and provide them with a description of the found bird. If the bird has been reported as lost by the owner, they may already have the record on file. Otherwise, they will have the file saved if the owner does call.
- Contact avian veterinarians and pet stores — Reach out to avian veterinarians in your area and provide them with the same detailed description of the bird. They may have clients who have reported a lost bird fitting the same description. Additionally, contact local pet stores and ask them to keep an eye out for anyone asking about a lost bird.
- File a lost and found report — Typically, cities and towns have lost and found services for pets. Contacting your local animal control or municipal office will allow you to file a report. If an owner seeks their bird out through official channels, the report will be on file, and they’ll be able to contact you.
Engaging the Community
One of the best ways to quickly reunite a found bird with its owner is by engaging the community. Reach out to community members and let them know about your found bird. There’s a good chance that one of them is looking for the bird. Here are some ways you can engage the community to help find the owner:
- Flyers and posters — Flyers and posters with a clear photo of the bird and your contact information can be a great way to let the community know that a bird has been found. Hang them in local community centers, pet stores, veterinary clinics and other high-traffic areas where a bird owner might see them.
- Neighborhood door-to-door — If you found the bird in your neighborhood or near a neighborhood, it can be helpful to go door-to-door to ask if anyone knows anything about it. If the bird didn’t go far from home, you may even find the owner this way.
- Local media — Reaching out to local newspapers and radio stations can also help you spread the word and increase your chances of finding the owner.
- Online platforms — Don’t neglect social media when trying to spread local awareness about a found bird. Also, you can use platforms like PawBoost to reach pet lovers across your local community and let them know about the found pet.
Personal Safety and Stray Animals
As with any lost pet, you should always make sure to prioritize your personal safety and the safety of the animal when attempting to approach and catch the bird. Even if the bird is a pet that is used to human contact, a lost pet may feel scared or threatened. Make sure to follow these steps to stay safe:
- Consider your safety — First and foremost, ensure your safety. Wear gloves or use a towel or blanket to handle the bird, as their beaks and claws can cause injuries. Approach the bird slowly and calmly, avoiding any sudden movements that may startle it. If the bird becomes aggressive or tries to fly away, do not chase or grab it. Instead, step back and give it some space.
- Call animal control — If the bird you find appears to be injured or distressed, it’s best to monitor it from a distance and contact your local animal control agency. They will have the necessary training and resources to capture the bird, minimizing risk to both you and the animal.
PawBoost Helps Reunite Lost Birds and Their Families
If you want to raise local awareness about a lost bird you’ve found, PawBoost is the best way to do so. PawBoost is a lost and found pet platform that has the largest online pet lost & found database in the world. When you make a found pet listing, we also push it to your local Facebook page, our mobile app and our email list. You can even make flyers with PawBoost. Try PawBoost today to get the best chance of reuniting the lost bird with its family.