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Articles > LOST BIRD . . . NOW WHAT?

12 May 2006


Lost Bird... Now What?
By Madeleine Franco

Stay calm.  This is not easy, but try your level-headed best. You're going to need clear thinking to accomplish a few proven tasks for locating a lost pet. The basic rule of thumb is this: Tell as many people as you can in as short a time as possible as much useful information as possible.  Do enough things and you increase the likelihood that things will come together.
Example: Patagonian conure, Red-lored Amazon parrot, Military Macaw
Bird’s Name
. . . especially if he recognizes his name or responds to it
Approx. size from head to tip of tail; also may be helpful to indicate if tail is blunt or pointed (for profiling in trees)
Not everyone knows birds, and they won’t know what your bird looks like unless you tell them (color, size, color of beak, conspicuous eye ring, etc.). Include a photo, if possible, on the flyer. Photos of various birds are available on the Internet (Google the species) or at www.goodbirdinc.com.
Other Unique
You may actually want to reserve one of these (e.g., toenail missing on left foot) to prove to the finder that you are the bird’s owner. Band no. and microchip info. may be provided, but keep in mind that few “civilians” will be able to read either; additionally, if you provide this information, you may make it more difficult to prove ownership, unless you have documentation.
Vicinity and zip code are useful. Example: Corner Warbonnet and Flamingo Rd, zip code 89147
Medical Conditions
Amidst concern over avian diseases, DO NOT indicate a medical problem, unless genuinely there is one. If you do indicate a medical problem, try to be as brief and specific as possible. (Example: Bird requires medication for thyroid condition)
Owner’s Name/
Contact Info.
That’s you! Indicate telephone number, cell number, email address
Reward, if applicable
Obviously, this is a matter of choice. Though some may think not, and we would all like to believe that people do all good things out of the pureness of their hearts (Oh, what a world that would be!), rewards do incentivize some people and, arguably, can let people know that you are serious.


(not a comprehensive list)
southernnevadaparrotrescue@gmail.com–SNPERRS will transmit via email to our cooperating members a “Lost Bird” Alert, containing the above information.
If you post to a web site or send an email notice, please be sure to REMOVE your ad or otherwise notify once your pet is found.
Time is of the essence. Distribute flyers around your neighborhood and within at least a ½-mile radius, including grocery stores; notify especially heavily trafficked small businesses, veterinary offices, and places where people tend to congregate. Many birds do not go far and are found within a short distance of their homes. Keep in mind that your flyers may disappear overnight and that the US Postal Service generally will not allow people to obstruct mailboxes with “lost pet” information. If necessary, seek the help of your neighborhood association toward relaxing some of the rules for notices within the community. Involve neighborhood youth in the search; flyers at school bus stops help get the word out. Also remember to put a “lost pet” notice in your local newspaper(s).
When an individual calls claiming to have found your bird, some believe it a good idea to ask a “trick” question (Example: “What color is the bird’s band,” when in reality the bird has no band. Be careful about trick questions such as this, as they could result in an argumentative situation. Of course, if the bird is actually missing a toenail then you can certainly formulate a legitimate question, the answer to which only you and a legitimate finder would know. Also, keep in mind that the need for a trick question is somewhat lessened if the person offers to bring the bird to you or a designated area within earshot of your home (e.g., your community’s security guard building), rather than asking you to pick it up at a designated meeting point far from your home. (The “Evil World” theory suggests that someone will claim to have found your bird, set up a rendezvous relatively far from your home, and then take advantage of the situation in some way.)
Don’t give up hope. In all likelihood, someone will find your bird. Many people actually want to do the right thing by you and your pet, and many of our members can attest that “lost” birds can and have been found. The key is to ensure that the individual who finds your bird has a way of knowing what to do to return the bird to its rightful owner.
Copyright © 2006 Madeleine Franco, all rights reserved. Madeleine Franco, an award-winning business writer/presenter and founding president of the Southern Nevada Parrot Education, Rescue & Rehoming Society (SNPERRS), is an avicultural hobbyist who tends a flock of approximately 30 non-breeding, highly platonic and interactive pet parrots. She is the owner/operator of Premium Pine Cones, LLC (www.premiumpinecones.net), specializing in remedies, toys and diversions for parrots that pluck but would like to kick the habit.      
*Clubs reprinting this article by permission, are permitted--and encouraged--to customize these web addresses to suit their specific locales.