A finger-tamed parakeet who escapes his cage but is confined to a sealed room is easy to recapture, tempting him to the finger with millet and then putting him back in the cage.
The problem is trickier if the bird is untamed. In this case, you will need to lure him back by removing all food and handy perches from beyond the cage, and waiting for him to return of his own accord. If you’re in a hurry, you may have to resort to catching the parakeet in a net or towel.
Indoors, an escaped parakeet can be lured back to the cage
Parakeet Capturing Kit
If the recapture of an escaped bird moves beyond a closed room, your campaign of recapture needs to be well planned. You’ll need a parakeet-capturing kit consisting of a net and towel, a cage or carrying box, a cage cover, a millet spray, and a recording of parakeets chattering (an MP3 on your mobile phone will do the trick). Your own voice is a useful weapon, too, as that will be a very familiar sound to your pet bird.
Catching a Parakeet Outside
Your chances of recapturing an AWOL parakeet outdoors depend on how soon you realise he’s escaped. It will be easier to lure him back if he’s still in the vicinity of his cage and cage-mates; but if he’s flown further afield, you’ll struggle.
The first place an al fresco escapee is likely to go is to the top of the outdoor cage, or to a nearby tree. If he’s simply nipped through an open window and there is no outdoor cage, he’ll head for your roof/gutter or a high tree/fence.
Spotting your escaped bird is just the start - now you've got to recapture it
Parakeets’ tendency to seek out high places doesn’t assist in their recapture, but the trick is to lure the bird down to your millet-loaded hand or portable, food-stuffed cage.
- Try calling his name while holding out the millet; or play the recording of the talking parakeets.
- If he comes to your finger, gently bring your other hand close and take hold of him (as described in Holding a parakeet, above), to prevent further problems.
- Place the parakeet cage somewhere high, and in clear view of the escaped bird or his last known whereabouts, with the cage doors open. Attach some tempting food to the inside bars.
- If the parakeet is used to perching on you, stand with his favourite food in your hand and call him. If you have more than one bird (and more than one cage), place his friends next to the open cage, and their calls will hopefully lure him back home.
- If he lands on top of the cage (which he is likely to do, rather than going straight inside), use the millet as a lure and try to get him onto your finger. If you succeed, close your other hand round him to prevent him flying away again.
- If the parakeet has absconded from an aviary, you can’t just leave the doors open and tempt him in with food. Place millet (or some other favourite treat) in a small cage on top of the aviary, or as close to it as possible. The sound of the other parakeets will hopefully tempt him back soon enough, at which point you will need to net him.
Do Escaped Parakeets Come Back?
A bird that has flown further afield is a lot harder to recapture. He will not necessarily return to the cage or aviary, driven on by a mixture of anxiety, disorientation and curiosity. There are no guarantees of his return and you must rely on luck and cunning to get him back.
If the bird is on the move, follow on foot, carrying with you the parakeet-capturing equipment mentioned above. He will not travel far on his first flight away from the cage, so even if you didn’t see him leave, as long as you notice his absence within the first hour of his escape, you’re in with a decent chance of locating him in the vicinity. Listen for his voice – he will probably be calling to his absent friends, or trying to make contact with other birds he encounters (a house sparrow’s chirrup is not dissimilar to a parakeet’s, and will often provoke a reply). If you can’t see him, play the recording of the parakeet voices, and listen for his response.
When you catch up with him, try to lure him down with a combination of millet, cage and parakeet song. He will be tired, and if he’s been away for a long time he will probably be hungry too. But he will also be stressed, and not inclined to fly down from the safety of the tree or rooftop he’s resting on. This, sadly, is where a lot of parakeet chases end. The bird remains high and dry, and eventually flies away and out of sight. Your only chance of capturing him is to tempt him down. If he’s on a rooftop, there is the possibility of getting yourself into the closest upstairs room and trying to lure him from there.
Luring an escaped parakeet down from a tree or rooftop is a tricky process
A net on a long stick occasionally works. Load the net with millet and move it ever-so-slowly towards the parakeet. Scoop him up and bring him down quickly, removing him from the net with your hand and returning him to the cage. He will be stressed and unhappy, but a cage cover will assist in calming him down during the journey home.