Your search for a lost bird needs to start immediately after you’ve discovered it is missing. Birds can travel long distances in a short amount of time, so it’s crucial you start looking straight away.
Action plan - Day 1
- Inform your neighbours. Neighbours are at home at different times of the day and may see your bird around their garden. Let them know that your bird is missing, and ask them to inform you as soon as possible if they see it.
- Leave a cage open. If you have a spare cage, leave it open in your backyard with some food and water inside. Your bird could make its way back to familiar territory.
- Contact your local vets and rescue services. Don’t assume your bird will be in your local area. Contact every vet and animal rescue organisation in and beyond your area, letting them know that your bird is lost. Give them a clear description of your bird and your contact details. Ask them to keep an eye out and contact you immediately if they hear anything.
- Don’t limit your search. Birds can fly long distances so make sure you expand your search area beyond your neighbourhood.
- Get on Gumtree. The website has a ‘Lost and Found’ page in their pet section that is regularly searched and updated. Visit http://www.gumtree.com.au/ and list your pet.
- Use social media. Post the news of your lost bird to your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Include a clear photo and the date, time and place it went missing. Ask them to share, retweet and spread the word for you – the more eyes on the lookout, the better.
Action plan - Day 2
- Do a letterbox drop. Create a full-colour flyer asking ‘HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BIRD?’ Feature a clear photo of your bird, the date and place it went missing, your first name and your mobile number. Drop a copy in all your neighbours’ letterboxes, covering a significant area around your property.
- Create a ‘LOST BIRD’ poster. Adapt your full-colour flyer into a poster, asking ‘HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BIRD?’ Feature a clear photo of your bird, the date and place it went missing, your first name and your mobile number. Distribute your posters in person to local vets, shops and in public areas around your neighbourhood.
- Visit local vets and shelters. Often with birds, descriptions can be misunderstood. Don’t rely wholly on phone conversations, go to the vets and rescue shelters to see if you recognise your bird.
Recovering your bird
The good news is that you’ve located your bird. The next step is to safely recover it to take home. It is likely the bird will be very scared of the unfamiliar territory, so you need to take your time and act calmly.
- If the bird is in a tree, often it will come to you on its own, when it is ready. This can take a long time, so be patient.
- Use a soothing and calming tone when speaking to the bird. It will recognise familiar voices.
- Set up a food station for the bird to come down and eat from.
- If you, or someone the bird is familiar with, are able to climb the tree, take a treat to calm and coax them down.
- Collect the bird gently in a towel and wrap it up so that it cannot fly away or hurt itself.
- If you have a second bird, keep it in a cage nearby, so that the lost bird can hear its calls. Birds will come to calls they recognise.
With time and patience, the bird will calm down and recovery will be much more easier.
It may take days for the bird to become motivated enough to come down to you. Don't give up!