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How to Retrieve Your Lost Parrot

Updated on July 7, 2015
Frederick Green profile image

Frederick Green grew up with a variety of species of parrots. He loves to research and share his experience with other parrot owners.

You are having a great day with your parrot and you know that your parrot trusts and loves you. Therefore, it won't try to escape, right? All of a sudden, you realized you haven't closed the window. A loud car comes by and before you know it, your beloved bird has taken off and doesn't know how to land. It keeps on going until it is out of your sight.

One of the worst situations parrot owners have to tackle is retrieving your beloved parrot when it escapes. There are many things you can do to increase the chance of finding your parrot. One of the most important thing to do is to react immediately.

Flying is a natural bird instinct that can not be prevented. It is simply their nature. 94% of lost parrots flew away whilst 6% are stolen from their homes.
Flying is a natural bird instinct that can not be prevented. It is simply their nature. 94% of lost parrots flew away whilst 6% are stolen from their homes.

Stay Calm and Think

Parrot-owners in this situation are often panic-stricken. However, the best way to go is to stay calm and focused. It is vital that you are able to think properly and logically about the situation. At the same time, you must do your part as soon as you can.

Think about the following:

  • Which direction did you bird go? (If there's only one window in the room, you can eliminate the other directions, etc.)
  • When was the last time your bird has eaten? (Hungry birds have less energy which could indicate that it didn't go too far.)
  • Has the bird been clipped? (Birds that are clipped don't usually go over two miles because they are missing part of their wings.)
  • What time is it? (Birds are usually vocal in the morning and evening which means you can rely on sound. Try calling for its name and see if it replies.)
  • What is your neighborhood like? (Birds often try to find roofs or trees to land on. They may be afraid to land if there are a lot of cars.)

Spending a few minutes critically thinking and reasoning is better than rushing off without knowing what to do.

Tip: Get a map of your neighborhood if possible. Think about where your bird has taken off and where it could have landed.

A clipped bird (Figure 3) are not able to fly at all - which is recommended to prevent escape. A partially clipped bird (Figure 2) can fly but not over two miles as flight will require more energy. Birds that aren't clipped (Figure 1) can fly well.
A clipped bird (Figure 3) are not able to fly at all - which is recommended to prevent escape. A partially clipped bird (Figure 2) can fly but not over two miles as flight will require more energy. Birds that aren't clipped (Figure 1) can fly well.

Has your bird escaped before?

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Start Searching Logically and Acutely

I can't stress enough how great searching reasonably and wisely is. Searching aimlessly, no matter how much you search, is never as great as thinking smartly. For example, it is natural for birds to avoid the ground - therefore it is better to focus on searching the trees. It is normal for your parrot to avoid other animals (even other bird species!). If you see a group of intimidating pigeons around, you know your bird will not be too close to them. Basic knowledge can surprisingly be very important. If there is a fruit tree nearby, chances are the bird will camp around so it's not far away from food.


  • Avoid loud cars; bikes and hybrid cars have a smaller chance of scaring the bird away
  • Birds are most commonly found on trees and rooftops (not surprising!)
  • Have a trusted friend to keep an eye out at home; parrots very often find their way home by themselves
  • Traps and treats can lure them in which can aid the search
  • Get as many people as possible; the more people you can find to help, the better!

Quaker Parrot enjoying a type of wild berry.
Quaker Parrot enjoying a type of wild berry.

Traps, Treats and Treasure

The "Triple T" is something I have learned and discovered myself. If you cannot locate your bird after two days (or one day if you're desperate), it's time the bring in traps and treats. There are many, many variety of traps; many of which are demonstrated on YouTube. Using a favorite toy or food as a lure for the trap is great. Try to include food that only your parrot eats. For example, most wild birds will not touch pellets as they are artificial and doesn't seem like a natural treat.

Hanging fruits or other treats from trees can be surprisingly useful. Normally, hungry birds will do anything to find food. If your neighbourhood does not have many natural sources of food, there's a great chance your starving buddy will stumble upon your "fruit tree" and have a nibble.

Offering "treasure" (prize) to other people may borrow you an extra hand. Fruits aren't the only thing you can hang, try hanging fliers or posters around, informing other people of your loss may gain you extra help from somebody else. Try delivering small and effective mini-posters to other people. Using words like "beloved" or "dear pet" will make your neighbour aware of your desperation. Offer a money prize to draw even more attention. Please stick to this deal so it's fair for everyone. Pet birds will not hesitate to search for humans as they are familiar with human company.


  • Use treats that only your parrot eats to prevent drawing attention from other birds
  • Make sure the trap doesn't kill the bird! Your bird might fall for the trap but a dead bird is no good!
  • Keep it natural. Parrots are very smart; they'll be suspicious if the trap is bright and colorful.
  • Not everyone expects something back from finding your bird. Don't feel pressured to include a prize.

Here are a couple of videos about bird traps:

Net-style Trap

200mm Bird, Pigeon, Quail Humane Live Trap Hunting
200mm Bird, Pigeon, Quail Humane Live Trap Hunting

This is a simple and easy-to-use trap that impresses many customers including me.


Cage-style Trap

Kness Kage-All Live Animal Sparrow Trap, Model# 161-0-004
Kness Kage-All Live Animal Sparrow Trap, Model# 161-0-004

Cage-style traps have a good reputation. They are also capable of multi-traps meaning that you can catch my birds at once. This may also put your bird in danger of being harmed by another foe.


Ideas for "Triple T"

Fruits and vegetables
Cage trap
Seeds or cooked grains and nuts
Arapuca trap
Restaurant/spa Vouchers
Stick and box trap
Bread or pastas
Net trap

Spread the Word!

Again, letting people know is so important; the more the better. Reporting your loss to the vets and local pet shops can show good results. Most vets and pet shop owners are more than happy to help you locate your bird.

Hang around as many posters and fliers as possible. Let the local newspaper know too. Maybe you can publish some details on them. Magazines may also include your story. Do this as soon as possible. The chances of other people discovering the bird is too great to let the opportunity pass by.

Again, try offering a prize for even better results. Put in as much details as possible to ensure best results. Include a picture too!

Capturing the Bird

Although locating the bird seems like the most difficult part, capturing the bird can be equally tricky. Getting your bird safely in your arms can be harder than getting your bird in your eyesight. Using basic gestures and lures is usually the best first step.

For example, whistling and using hand gestures can make the bird curious. If it has a mate, bring him/her over and hope for a happy reunited couple. Any favorite toys and treats can also help. Setting up traps around where the bird is can result in great captures.

Finally, if nothing works; talk to the vet or petshop. These people may have suitable equipments or can help you capture them. They may even know of a person who has experience with capturing loose animals.

Unfortunately, there are not many ways around capturing the bird. Try to use a variety of these techniques; get a lot of experts and always use a mixture of traps and treats.

Never Give Up!

You may feel compelled to give up but many people find their birds hundreds of miles aways and years after. There is nothing to lose; keep on going and who knows, one day you may be the luckiest person alive!


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    • Frederick Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Palis Pisuttisarun 

      4 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Thanks Carol!

      I think that's also a great tip. Parrots are very smart and can find their way home by themselves!

      Good day.

    • Carol Houle profile image

      Carol Houle 

      4 years ago from Montreal

      Good one. If it happens during dusk or after dark, open the windows and lights, stand outside and call his name. A mature bird will follow the sound of your voice and fly back in.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Dear Frederick,

      I agree that logic is very important. I have lost my Sun Conure 4 days ago. When I was searching, it was important to think reasonably. Thankfully, he found his way home whilst I was out searching.

      Nice hub, voted up.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      There are lots of pictures of him on my hub about "How to exercise your parrot". I am surprised this HP algorithm did not include it as a related hub.

      I also have a blue headed parrot born this year, but I do not have any pictures of him on HP yet.

      A Chihuahua and a Golden. That sounds like a great family. I am also a fan of big and small, and am always amazed when people tell me they only like big dogs, or only like small dogs!

    • Frederick Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Palis Pisuttisarun 

      4 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Thanks, DrMark1961. I'm glad you have found my article interesting. I, unfortunately, have lost my Pionus but she was safely retrieved thanks to someone in my neighbourhood. I agree that "thinking" your bird trusts you is a bad mistake; it is natural for birds to fly. Glad you have retrieved your parrot. Would love to see a few pictures!

      I'm also a dog lover! I have an apple-head Chihuahua "Chestnut" and an adopted Golden Retriever called "Muppie".

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Interesting hub! My parrot likes to go for walks on my shoulder and never flew away until a car drove by and scared him. Luckily the roof he flew to was not that far away, and once I talked to him for awhile he realized everything was okay and jumped down. It gave me a scare, though! I am glad I have not had to go through what these others (in your article) did.


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