If you can’t seem to find your escapee, leave an open, visibly food-filled cage outside your house next to your aviary. Place some of their favourite toys in plain view and, if you don’t happen to have any cage-mates who will help lure them back, try playing some recordings of parakeet chatter. Make sure you have your net and towel at hand to assist a quick capture if they return
If you have bonded with your bird, don’t underestimate the power of your presence. Sit near the cage outside the house and call the bird. Make a recording of your voice to leave playing if you have other things to do.
A lost parakeet is difficult to track down and recapture
Alerting your neighbours that you are missing a budgie. If your bird has been gone for more than a few hours, put up lost parakeet signs around your local area, ideally with a mobile phone number that people can contact you on. If you happen to know of any outdoor aviaries or cages, alert the owners and ask them to keep an eye out for you.
Other than this, all you can do is wait. If your parakeet has been missing for more than 24 hours, don't give up hope. It is possible that your bird has flown far away, but may still find their way back within earshot, where the sounds of your voice and the chatter of other parakeets may yet lure him back.
Rescuing an Escaped Parakeet
If you do, by any chance, manage to find yourself in possession of someone else's parakeet, don't waste any time. There’s lots to do!
You’re pretty unlikely to tempt a parakeet down from a roof or a tree (although this can happen if the bird is very tame or very tired/hungry). Stray birds are more likely to linger around long enough to be caught if you keep your birds in an outdoor aviary. The constant sounds of other birds will cause them to hang back.
An escaped parakeet takes to the wing
When it comes down to it, the only realistic way to catch your bird is with a net. Once captured, the first thing they will need is solitude in a quiet cage. This cage should be equipped with a perch, food and water. If your bird is panicky, don’t cover the cage but rather leave the bird alone for a few hours and let them recover and get used to their surroundings. If they’ve been outside for a significant length of time they’re likely to be tired, hungry and cold.
Never put a stray bird into the same cage as your other birds, a quarantine is good on the off chance that your bird has caught some disease.
Once the bird is secure and fed, put up some “lost parakeet found” posters in the vicinity, and spread the word that you have an escaped parakeet in your keeping. Given the fact that these little birds can fly a surprisingly long way, you may want to put up a notice in the local newspaper, or phone the local radio station with the news. With every lost bird there’s an anxious owner waiting for news, so it is very likely that the owner will soon respond to your efforts.
When the caged parakeet has recovered, you will need to make some judgment calls:
- Does he look injured in any way?
- Are his nostrils (nares) clear? Any crusty material around the cere could indicate illness.
- Is his vent clean? If the feathers in this region are dirty or wet, the parakeet is ill.
- Can you see any parasites on the feathers, or bald patches on the body?
- Are the droppings normal looking? (Note: there is no single ‘normal’ colour for the dark part of parakeet droppings - it depends on their standard diet)
- Is he eating and drinking normally?
- Is the parakeet alert and behaving as you would expect a parakeet to behave?
Even if the bird has an all-clear after being put through this checklist, it's still advisable to take him to a vet’s. Some diseases bloom inside birds with no external clues until it's too late. There’s no point putting your other parakeets at risk.