Lost Parakeet
May 2, 2012 7:01 PM   Subscribe

What are the chances of a domestic parakeet returning home after flying out of the kitchen door? Wings are not recently clipped.

And what, if anything can we do to attract the bird back to the house? This just happened about three hours ago and it is now dark outside, but relatively mild (75 degrees). Thanks in advance.
posted by repoman to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
In my sad experience, if there's no cage-mate to call him/her back, the chances of return are not good... but if you put the cage outside or near the door, with the door propped open and food and water dishes full, you're in with a chance, as they say.... Sorry for your loss, and here's hoping...
posted by The otter lady at 7:11 PM on May 2, 2012

He actually does have a cage mate (a budgie) and we did take the cage outside for a couple of hours. Do we keep cage mate out at night for a a few more minutes? Obviously we will be right next to him.
posted by repoman at 7:14 PM on May 2, 2012

My parakeet just escaped and we got her back 48 hours later through a friend of a neighbor who caught her a mile away.

Spread the word to neighbors and put an ad on Craigslist and local streets. Put its cage out with food, and walk around making any calls it responds to. It will mostly likely be looking for its flock and sound is the best way to lure a keet out, even recordings of other keets chirping the signature "where are you?" single sharp tweet works. Our bird responded to whistles and that helped us track her down. The bird will have settled in a tree for the night so you'll have better luck tomorrow morning.

Good luck, I really hope your birdy comes back!
posted by cakebatter at 7:15 PM on May 2, 2012 [5 favorites]

Yes! Put his mate out tomorrow for sure to help guide him home.
posted by cakebatter at 7:17 PM on May 2, 2012

This just happened to a friend's neighbor (except it was a parrot); his elderly mother opened the front door, not realizing that the bird was out of the cage, and it flew out. The owner and a group of neighbors searched the neighborhood and someone found it in a tree. The owner came over, called to it and it landed on his shoulder. I'm not sure how long it had been missing before they were able to catch.

I also think that there was an Askme yesterday about someone whose pet parrot or parakeet was similarly rescued by neighbors and they wanted to find an appropriate thank you. I don't recall if the rescue story is included.

Good luck!
posted by kaybdc at 7:17 PM on May 2, 2012

I gotta say, your chances of the bird flying back are not great - especially at night. I assume it's never gotten out before so chances are it's disoriented and doesn't recognise home enough to come back to it. On the upside, wherever the bird is (probably in a tree) it's dark, so it won't be flying around. It will be staying put. This means, while it's dark, you can wander around calling it. If it answers back, you have a far better chance of being able to grab it in the dark where it won't fly off again than you do in broad daylight where the bird will just take off. They don't normally fly too far so chances are he's somewhere close.
posted by Jubey at 7:18 PM on May 2, 2012

I just read your update. Keep the cage mate outside as much as you can, hopefully the lost bird will hear his friend and come back. I think it's your best chance. Good luck!
posted by Jubey at 7:21 PM on May 2, 2012


Yes, that was my askmefi. The rescue story is within. Walking around actively calling and the kindness of strangers and sheer luck is about it.
posted by cakebatter at 7:27 PM on May 2, 2012

Just as an aside, if you hear your lost bird's call nearby, you might want to shine lights on the tree to keep owls away.

I had a friend whose parrot got out one time and that's what she did to try and keep him safe. Of course, she also wound up having to climb 50' up the tree because the little dummy wouldn't fly down to her. As soon as she got close enough, the parrot walked onto her shoulder and started clucking as if everything was normal.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:33 PM on May 2, 2012

I know nothing of birds, but I had a friend with an escaped bird. Four or five days later they found the bird on their fence in the morning before work. So there is hope.
posted by Garm at 8:10 PM on May 2, 2012

Of the 3 birds I have had fly out the door, 2 have been returned to me. I found one of them sitting on a rock by the side of the road 6 blocks from my house. She was a cockatiel, and she survived 2 days of 110 degree Phoenix heat! The other was found by strangers a mile away and they returned her after they saw an ad in the paper. I suggest you put out flyers in pet stores and vets, and ads in papers, and walk/drive around looking for the bird. Don't give up hope, budgies are tough little birds native to the Australian outback. They can survive temps between 30 and 110. There's actually a flock of feral parakeets that lives in Phoenix, if they can make it there they can weather a few spring days.
posted by TungstenChef at 1:12 AM on May 3, 2012

When I was about 14 a friend's parakeet escaped. We built a trap with a shoe box and a stick holding it up, with a pile of parakeet seed under the box so that when the bird returned to eat it would hit the stick and trap itself in the box.

Amazingly, it worked. We found the bird under the box the next morning.
posted by COD at 5:30 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oddly, this was just in the news:

Lost Pet Parakeet Found Its Way Home By Telling the Police Its Home Address
posted by chengjih at 7:47 AM on May 3, 2012

Leave your windows open and his favorite food nearby. Also put posters around the neighborhood. He may fly into someone else's home, or someone may spot him. Also report him missing to Animal Care and Control.

When my African Grey flew away, he flew into a woman's home and started eating some grapes that were on her table. She called Animal Care and Control, thy matched up the reports and called me, and I got my buddy back. Good luck!
posted by trip and a half at 1:54 PM on May 3, 2012

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