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My Bird Escaped

By Krista R Menzel

The thought of losing a pet bird to the great outdoors is a nightmare shared by all bird owners, and rightly so. Budgies and cockatiels are naturally nomadic birds that do not have strong "homing" instincts. For this reason, few can find their way back home after that first frantic flight out the door. The world can be a dangerous, confusing place for a budgie or cockatiel that suddenly finds itself flying free. While they do retain many of their natural instincts, our pampered pets are not able to survive alone for long once they escape. They rarely encounter conditions similar to the arid habitat where their ancestors lived. Dogs, raptors, traffic, disease, starvation, dehydration, and inclement weather are constant threats that our birds just are not equipped to handle.


As your bird's caretaker, you have made a promise to keep your bird as safe as possible. Taking precautions to prevent escape in the first place is the smartest, easiest way to meet this responsibility:

Have your bird's wings clipped by an experienced veterinarian or bird groomer and maintain the clip on both wings as new feathers grow in. Remember, however, that even a fully clipped cockatiel or budgie that has had a good scare can fly surprisingly well with a tail wind.



In spite of all best intentions, birds will still occasionally escape. In such a situation, time is of the essence. The steps you take right away may mean the difference between life and death for your little friend.