Found A Lost Pet Bird? Here’s What To Do…

Published by Joseph Calabrese on

So, you’ve just found a lost pet bird and are now wondering what to do.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

The owners of this bird are probably worried sick and the bird itself is likely scared, confused, and possibly traumatised from being out in the wild. Below you’ll learn exactly how to care for this bird while you look for its owners or someone more suitable to look after it.

I’ll walk you through the steps I took to get a lost budgie to a suitable home…

As well as some additional tips.

What To Do If You Find A Lost Pet Bird

Firstly, you’re an absolute saint if you’ve taken responsibility for a lost bird that you’ve found!

I know that most people would simply do nothing and hope it finds its way to someone else who is willing to help. Unfortunately, pet birds don’t last long in the wild, which is why it’s important to get them somewhere safe ASAP.

Here are the 5 crucial things you need to do as soon as you find a lost pet bird:

  1. Secure the bird by putting them in a cage or carrier
  1. Provide food & water
  1. Provide them with adequate shelter away from the weather and wild animals
  1. Look for “lost pet bird” posts online to see if anyone has reported them missing
  1. Add your own “found lost pet bird” post online to find the original owner or someone who can help

After following these steps, I was able to find a suitable carer for the budgie I found in less than 24 hours, which was vital as the budgie was sick.

I now want to cover exactly what to do for each of these 5 things so there’s no confusion…

1. Securing The Bird You Found

This is the setup I had the budgie in when I found it:

what to do when you find a lost bird

The cage I used was my cockatiel’s travel cage.

Don’t be afraid to use your bird’s travel cage, you’ll have the chance to deep clean it once you relinquish care of the bird. However, if you don’t have a pet bird or a cage, you can use a somewhat spacious, well-ventilated container.

It’s not the best place for a pet bird, but it’s better than being out in the wild.

After all, it’s only temporary until you find a more suitable carer.

Whatever you use, make sure there’s enough room to eat and there are air holes in the container.

Your main priority is to secure the budgie while you figure out what to do.

2. Provide Food & Water

How long do you think the bird has been out in the wild?

In most cases, you’re not going to have any idea.

They couldn’ve only just escaped from someone’s home a few minutes ago or they’ve been in the brutal wild for days. In case they’ve been out for days, you need to provide the bird with proper food and water as soon as you have them secured.

Use bird bowls that hook to the cage if you have them.

Otherwise, you can put 2 plates on the floor, 1 for food and the other for water.

What Foods You Can Serve A Pet Bird

If you have bird seeds or bird pellets, serve them to the bird.

Otherwise, you could offer them some fruits or vegetables.

Either way, you have to ensure that the bird eats or they might starve before you’re able to find a suitable carer. If you have nothing at all in your home, it’s definitely worth going shopping for some pet bird food.

Since the budgie I found wouldn’t eat my cockatiel’s seed mix, I had to serve millet spray:

3. Provide Adequate Shelter From Weather & Wild Animals

Providing shelter to the found bird is important for keeping them comfortable and safe.

This is especially important if the weather is bad or if the wild birds are trying to attack the bird that you found. However, it’s super important NOT to bring them inside your house if you already have birds or other pets.

Perhaps you could sit their cage/container somewhere safe in the backyard.

Or if the front yard is safe, you could sit them there.

At the very least, you can cover the top of the carrier with a blanket.

As long as they’re covered, they’ll be a lot more safer and comfortable.

At night, we had the parakeet’s cage covered like this:

What to do if you find a lost pet bird

It was very well insulated.

4. See If Anyone Has Reported This Bird Missing Online

When people lose their pets, they often report them missing online.

Your best chance of finding the owner of the bird is to look on your location’s Facebook groups for lost pets or lost pet birds. For example, if you’re located in Adelaide, you should look into the “lost pet birds of Adelaide” Facebook groups.

Here’s another effective strategy:

Search on Google for “lost [species of bird you found] in [your location]” and it’ll come up with all the relevant image results. The idea here is that if someone posted the bird as missing, it’ll come up in the Google image results.

This is an effective way of finding the bird’s original owner.

More tips on this further down…

5. Add Your Own “Found Pet Bird” Post Online

The owner of the bird you found will have an easier time finding you if you make your own post.

Ideally, you should make multiple posts across multiple platforms, especially Facebook groups, as you can connect with more people in your local area. This is the exact method I used to find a suitable carer for the parakeet I found.

What to do if you find a pet bird
Image source: Pixabay

She saw my post on Facebook and offered to take the budgie in for a vet visit.

Hopefully, you’ll get a similar result by posting about your situation online.

Or even better; You’ll actually come across the owner of the bird!

Be sure to include an image of the bird.

Tips For Finding The Bird’s Original Home

Pet birds and parrots are not just seen as pets, but as family to those who care for them.

This is why your absolute goal with the parrot you found is to find its original home, where the owners are worried sick.

Here are some tips for finding the owners of a lost pet bird:

  • Look online for “lost bird” posts as the owner may have reported them missing
  • Post your own post about the situation on various social media platforms, especially Facebook
  • Contact local vets and ask if anyone has reported a missing bird that looks similar to yours (send a photo to the vet if possible)
  • Contact other organisations (RSPCA, humane societies, animal shelters, parrot rescue centres, etc.) and ask if anyone has reported a similar-looking bird as missing
  • Check the 911ParrotAlert database in the “view lost birds” section to see if the owner has reported their missing bird
  • Put up some “Is this your bird?” posters around your local area to hopefully capture the attention of the owner, so they can then reach out to you via the contact info you have on the poster. Be sure to add an image of the bird you found.

Once you find a possible owner, you must verify that they actually own the bird by requesting a picture they have of their bird.

Found a lost pet bird
This is the image I was using to try and find the budgie’s original owner

Another way to verify is by asking for the number on the bird’s leg band if they have one.

No one else will know the bird’s leg band number beside the owner.

Verifying if the bird truly belongs to that person is vital for protecting against thieves or “bird flippers”.

Many people will gladly take a free bird just to sell it for profit.

What To Do If You Can’t Find The Bird’s Owner

If you cannot find the owner within 24 – 48 hours of finding the bird, they’ll need to be taken to a more suitable carer or a vet if they look sick.

Don’t worry, many reputable places will still try searching for the owner…

But they’ll also be able to ensure the bird remains in good health.

Here are my 3 suggestions if you couldn’t find the bird’s owner:

  • See if any local avian vets will take in the bird
  • Contact the organisations listed above to see if they’ll care for the bird
  • If you’re 100% capable of caring for the specific species of bird that you found and you have no other pets, you could simply continue caring for it until the owner is found. Of course, that means you’ll need to take them to a vet and pay the bills if they look sick, so this might not be your ideal option.
what to do if you find a lost pet bird

Warning To Those Who Already Have Pet Birds ⚠️

It’s important that you DO NOT allow the newly found bird to have any contact with your birds.

You have no idea if the bird is sick with diseases or illnesses that they can spread to your birds.

This is the exact reason why I had to keep the budgie I found outside; because I couldn’t put my cockatiel at risk. My suspicions turned out to be correct as the parakeet had mites, which can spread from bird to bird.

The same rule applies if you have other pets, like cats or dogs.

You don’t want them getting sick, which is why you must keep the newly found bird away from them.

I found a parakeet what do I do
An image of the budgie I found, right before I secured her

Conclusion | Short Summary

Before ending this article, I want to quickly summarise the most important points.

So, what do you do after finding a lost pet bird?

First, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Secure the bird in a cage or container
  2. Offer them bird food and fresh water
  3. Provide shelter to protect them from bad weather and to make them comfortable
  4. Check online to see if anyone has reported the bird as missing
  5. Add your own “found a pet bird” post online

Ideally, you should look for the owners as opposed to seeking the help of others.

But if the owner of the bird cannot be located, giving the bird to a more suitable carer is your next best option. Organisations like the RSPCA, humane societies, animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and parrot rescue centres might also be able to take in the bird.

They’ll also continue searching for the bird’s home.

Thank you for taking the time out of your life to help an animal in need.

The universe will reward you for your kind and altruistic efforts.

Share this with someone you know who has found a bird and doesn’t know what to do.

P.S. If you want to know more about the story of the budgie I found, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.

Read next: 5-Step Guide To Finding Your Lost Bird


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