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Prevent Parrot Escapes - Some useful tips by John Hayward

FreeFlyingex28 Photo Jeff KidstonWhen a companion parrot flies out of its owner’s house through open doors and windows or is lost whilst being out in the garden during a summer of fine weather, owners are left devastated.

The ‘Great Houdini’ is always the African Grey and given the chance they will always fly whenever there is any opening.  Fifty per cent of all escapees are the Greys, together with Senegals, Amazons, Hahn’s, Galah’s, Conures, Jardine’s and cockatiels.

A number of these lost birds are later found and reunited but still many end up on the missing list.  The other pity is that some of the found parrots cannot be returned to the rightful owner due to a lack of positive identification and in many instances, we are not notified of the loss in the first place.

So what can we do to try to reduce this tragic situation? Here are some tips to consider:

  1. First, be aware that your bird can fly. This might sound obvious but we know of cases where parrots have been in the family for years and have never flown until one day, they suddenly take off.
  2. Never leave any external windows or doors open, which will allow a bird its freedom.  In hot weather, keep the bird in its cage before opening windows.  In many houses the only point of exit is through a conservatory patio door.  A high number of lost birds escape this way, so do not have loose birds in this area.
  3. One simple, cheap and easy form of prevention is to make up some well fitting mesh panels to fit the openings of doors and windows, allowing for the flow of air and providing security for the bird.
  4. Many owners allow a parrot free range of the house so before the cage door is opened, contain it in one room and check the whole property for any insecurities.
  5. Parrots get out when you least expect it.  When a door is unexpectedly opened, they can be over your shoulder and gone in a flash! These are the most common causes of escape.  Consider pinning a notice up on the inside of the doors for example, 'Think Parrot'!
  6. When taking a bird out into the garden during the summer, always make sure the door or any other openings are padlocked and secure especially swing feeders.  Watch out for the cages with removable bases especially if dropped and do not leave the cage unattended whilst it is outside.  If you have a bird in a harness, be careful not to stumble and fall.  Many fly off with the harness attached.
  7. Ensure the bird has positive means of ID if ever lost or stolen and photograph any unique features for future reference.  Rings and microchips are essential.
  8. Finally we appeal to all breeders, dealers and suppliers to tell new parrot customers that their bird must be kept secure and that they can fly, even if wing clipped.

If you lose your bird, check the lost and found register on Parrots magazine website at CLICK HERE for the UK, or CLICK HERE worldwide.

For any advice call John Hayward at the National Theft Register: 01869 325699.   To email John, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Photo courtesy of Jeff Kidston

Think Parrots Show 2015, Masterclasses

TP15 Speakers Mark HagenThe final FREE Masterclass speaker of the day is Mark Hagen, flying in from Canada especially for the Show, who will be speaking on the subject ‘Early Education and Development of Parrots’ between 3pm and 4pm.
Mark is the Director of Research at Rolf C. Hagen Inc. and the Hagen Avicultural Research Institute (HARI).  He earned his Master of Agriculture Degree at the University of Guelph, specialising in Psittacine Aviculture.  During the course of obtaining his Bachelor of Science, Mark concentrated on nutrition and zoology, and attended a semester at the University of California, Davis, taking courses in cage bird medicine, nutrition and avian science.

He later gained hands-on experience while housing birds indoors for five years in a converted warehouse.  He founded HARI in 1985 and HARI has since gained a worldwide reputation for its ongoing studies into captive breeding, maintenance and nutrition of companion birds.

To mark its 25th anniversary, HARI opened a new division dedicated to the long-term study of the health of reptiles and small animals, particularly for dealing with common health concerns that the veterinarian community sees with species found in captivity.

Mark has also been deeply involved in supporting the avian community and is passionate about conservation, travelling widely around the world to experience birds in their natural habitat and to ascertain ways of improving preservation.

Come along to Think Parrots Show, on Sunday 21 June 2015 at Kempton Park Racecourse, Middlesex, for further information visit

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