Retrieval Scenarios, Reunited & Hydration Guidance & Recall Training



If your bird is in a tree or somewhere that requires some coaxing, here are some retrieval scenarios FOR DAYTIME ONLY please: Including alternating the following (along with favorite foods, treats, shaking a bowl of pellets or treats, water and pouring water from one bowl to another so this bird can see and hear it, eating yummy food and offering to share it with this bird, favorite bonded people, bringing out other flock mates in a safe, secure carrier to help elicit contact calls and to aid in coaxing this bird down using a Bluetooth Speaker to help broadcast, playing recordings of like-species vocalizations from flock mates or even this bird, or recordings from YouTube.


1) coaxing this bird to climb/hop downward by standing directly below him or her

2) positioning yourself next to a neighboring tree that offers a clear flight path to a clear landing spot with a slight descent, as lateral flying is easier to manage than descending. 

3) getting yourself higher using something already in the environment like the roof of a nearby house, a hill, standing on a fence or a nearby parked car or truck, and coaxing with high value reinforcers (whatever gets this bird excited!)

4) standing back 20-50 ft from the tree to give this bird a clear gradual descending flight path to you.. this bird may circle around a few times and land at the same spot he/she was in, land in another tree, land on the roof of a house, land on the ground, land on whatever is in this bird’s flight path. With each little flight this bird gains more valuable flight and navigational experience which is wonderful.

The goal is to PLEASE STAY WITH YOUR BIRD, remain patient, encouraging, praise all of this bird’s attempts to come down, and allow this bird to gain confidence and build trust that he/she is very capable of coming down on his/her own power.

PLEASE BE ADVISED that introducing large equipment and unfamiliar objects into the scenario such as booms, lifts, firetrucks, tree services, water hoses, nets, etc. can be very risky as it could frighten the bird and cause him/her to fly away. If this happens you would have to start over and resume with searching for your bird all over again.  

 DISCLAIMER:  (Bucket Trucks, Tree Climbers & Night Time Searching ) 

 We at 911 Parrot Alert only advise such extreme measures of a bucket truck or tree trimming service when conditions are dire and the bird is in physical distress. We prefer to have a bird come down on his/her own power proactively, via climbing, flying, hopping, even meeting the bonded person halfway when the bonded person can safely use something 'already in the environment' to get oneself higher and thus minimize any spooking of the bird - like the roof of a house, for example.  We encourage patience and allowing a bird to build confidence, coaxing with favorite treats, food and water, flock mates and favorite bonded person. 


The danger in using a bucket truck to aid in retrieving a bird is breaking trust with a bird and causing the bird to spook and fly off. A bird who flies reactively rather than proactively has a greater chance of panicking and that can have unforeseen consequences. 

The dangers in searching at night are multiple:
Parrots do not see well at night and if they are disturbed by your searching or calling, they may either spook or try to fly and that can have unforeseen consequences.  Plus, there are nocturnal animals out at night and you want your bird to roost quietly and not draw attention to him/herself. PLEASE ONLY SEARCH DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS.

Credit: Dan Radzik

This method can be very helpful when a bird is spotted at a feeder. Often times when birds show up in someone's yard it is because they are feeding the wild neighborhood birds.  If the bird is a continual visitor at least 2 days in a row then set up a cage outside near the feeder. This will allow the bird to see the cage and realize it is not a threat. On the second day leave the door open and on the third day try to catch the bird. If the bird happens to step inside the cage on day one then pull the door shut, but typically catching a bird this way may take a day or two so patience is key.

In order for this to work, the cage needs to have a large front opening door and the cage needs to be situated closer to the ground and not elevated high up. The distance between the open door and the ground should be minimal. A small step up progression of wood, brick or stepping stone could be placed outside of the cage so the bird has easy entry and access into the cage. 

Once the cage has been situated and secure, tie a string to the door through the back of the cage. This will allow the most leverage and free pull on the string. Always anchor the cage (brick on top or if on grass a small tent spike) to hold the cage in place when you pull the string. We always try to use something as a pivot point such as a stick in the ground or heavy object nearby so we can pull the string from a distance and be out of direct sight which is the best place to watch.

When you set the cage up remove the grate and place some food that has been put out for the wild birds previously inside the bottom of the cage. Remove most of the other feeding options from outdoors, but leave enough to entice the flock of birds. This will allow your trap cage to gain the most attention. When it comes to flocks of birds they will usually send down a scout first to make sure the coast is clear before the whole group flies down. When you see the scout you want to be as quiet and still as possible. Once you see the entire flock it's just a luck game. Smaller birds are usually enticed better with millet while larger birds are better enticed with sunflower seeds. 

Once the bird is inside the cage pull the string and hold onto it tightly until you physically go over and lock the door. Letting go prematurely can cause the door to push open thereby causing the bird to become spooked and fly away for good.

* ILLUSTRATION VIDEO of cage setup.



Once the bird has been safely retrieved, please hydrate first with water and watery fruits such as watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, apples, kiwi fruit, cherries, pomegranates, applesauce or berries such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or a sprig of millet for smaller birds such as cockatiels, lovebirds, parrotlets or parakeets before offering more solid foods, (Unless your bird is injured then only offer a little water). Then, please take your bird ASAP to your Board Certified Avian Veterinarian, or someone who consults with one, for a full exam to be sure all is okay internally and externally. We have had a few found and reunited birds not survive due to delayed or skipped Avian Veterinary exams until ailments or hidden injuries were no longer treatable.

*Attached are links to help locate an avian vet quickly should you need one. 

ABVP:  American Board of Veterinary Practitioners
AAV:  Association of Avian Veterinarians   


Please consider keeping your bird flighted and practice regular contact call and response. The contact calls help to let your bird know where you are and also reinforces the connection you have with your bird. This is an invaluable practice in case your bird becomes lost. Flight Feathers help keep your bird safe from predators (including inside the home) and unpredictable weather and environmental hazards should they become lost outside. Just be very careful of doors and windows and always have your bird in a safe secure carrier or Aviary when outdoors. You can practice some wonderfully enriching recall training with your bird ***inside*** your home, or in a safe, secure, enclosed outdoor space such as an Aviary or Batting Cage, which offers huge benefits for your bird cognitively, mentally, physically, physiologically, socially, behaviorally, emotionally and also helps enrich and increase the bond you have with your bird. Plus it can be hugely fun for both your bird and you. These Parrots are spectacular in flight!


Please see VIDEO of a safe flight experience and recall training in the safety of a batting cage. If you would like more information, please contact Carol Kessler. 

911 Parrot Alert