Catching a caged bird may be difficult or easy according to the bird’s temperament, injury or illness, and the structure of the cage.
Small bird in a small cage
- Place the cage in a small room, for example, the laundry. Close all windows and doors in case the bird evades your grasp and escapes from the cage.
- Remove all objects from the cage, such as perches, swings, and feeders, as they may get in your way when you are catching the bird.
- Small birds such as canaries and budgerigars are easy to catch on the floor of the cage or while gripping the wire.
- A trained bird may hop onto your finger. If this happens, stroke the bird gently then cup your hand firmly (not too tightly or too loosely) around the wings and body of the bird, with the head between your thumb and index finger. This grip will control the head and so prevent the bird from biting.
- If the bird is not trained, talk reassuringly while herding the bird slowly into a corner of the cage. Grasp the bird from behind in the same manner as described for a trained bird.
- Remove the bird from the cage for examination, treatment, and transport to your veterinarian or rehousing a new cage or aviary.
Large bird in a large cage
- As for the small bird, place the cage in a small, escape-proof room and remove all objects from the cage. Check whether the cage door is large enough to allow your hand to reach the innermost part of the cage. If not, dismantle a section of the cage, such as the floor, to give you adequate access.
- Some birds may bite when caught. To reduce the possibility of being bitten wear a suitable glove. The ineffective alternative is to hold a towel in the hand to cushion the bite or to t brow it over and cover the bird.
- The bird’s head can be controlled by grasping the head between the thumb and index finger with the palm resting on the bird’s back. The legs and wings can be controlled by wrapping the other hand around them, thus preventing the wings from being damaged and the feet from injuring the handler.
Bird free in a room or aviary
- Before attempting the catch, allow the bird to settle. A bird settled in a corner is easier to catch.
- Approach slowly and quietly but confidently, with a towel held spread out between your hands.
- When close, throw the towel over the bird and immediately tuck it in under the body. In this situation, a bird usually remains calm and still.
- Put your hand on top of the towel, and quickly feel forth bird’s head under the towel. Lid the bird is to be transported, hold the bird’s head between the thumb and index finger then lift the bird, still enclosed in the towel, and place it in a suitable container. If you wish to examine the bird, pull the towel back to reveal one part of the bird at a time, beginning with the head.
- Alternatively, the bird can be caught with an aviary net similar to a butterfly net. Once the bird has been caught, hold the opening of the net flat against the wire netting of the aviary to prevent the bird from escaping.
The bird escaped outdoors from a cage in the home
- If the bird has a mate, place the mate in a cage outside the open window or door of the home. If the escaped bird returns, encourage the bird to come inside by bringing the caged mate just inside the door or window.
- If the bird comes inside, close the door or window and proceed to catch the bird.
If the bird has no mate, wait for the bird to settle in agree on or shrub and attempt saturate the bird with a strong jet of water from a hose. Chances of success are minimal.
- Wild birds are difficult to catch unless they are ill or injured.
- The difficulty, in catching, will be directly related to the size of the bird and the nature of the injury or illness. The bird may be caught by:
– Using a bird net.
– Using a towel to throw over the bird. Under the towel, the bird should become quiet and calm thereby not causing further injury to itself or injury to you.
- The handler can take the following precautions to prevent injury once the bird is caught and under control:
- A beak can be taped with adhesive, electrician’s tape, or an elastic band. Plasticize, for example, can be pushed onto the sharp point of the beak.
- Sharp, strong claws can puncture or tear the skin of handler. Immobilize the claws by binding the legs together or allowing the claws to grip a stick or some suitable object. Bind the claws to the stick with a suitable material, such as Vet wrap, which is a self-adhesive bandage.
Assessing the Bird’s Condition
- Any obvious bleeding or signs of shock should be treated before handling the bird to assess the bird’s condition in detail.
- Excessive handling of a bird in shock may cause death.
- Allow 2 to 3 hours of recovery time from shock before assessing the bird.
First, stand a short distance away and visually examine the bird, looking for:
- Symmetry or asymmetry. For example, a drooping wing. Indicates possible fracture.
- Eye discharge. Indicates possible conjunctivitis.
- Nasal discharge. Indicates possible respiratory infection.
- Head tilt. Indicates possible concussion.
- Bird huddled. Often on the bottom of the cage. This is a general sign of illness.
- Abnormal breathing. Indicates possible respiratory infection. Posture. Head turned towards the wing with eyes partly closed. This is a general sign of illness.
- Fluffed out feathers. This is a general sign of illness.
- Feathers stained. Staining just above the nostrils indicates a possible respiratory infection.
- Feathers around the head. Matted with tacky mucus and partially digested seed or food. Indicates vomiting.
- Feathers around the vent. Stained or matted with droppings, or droppings of a fluid-like consistency on the bottom of the cage. Indicates diarrhea.
- Feather loss. Indicates possible underlying wound.
Next carefully and methodically examine the bird physically:
- Begin with the head, checking for signs of abrasion, beak fractures, eye injuries, unequal pupil size, and mouth
- And tongue problems, which may indicate a possible concussion.
- Check for unequal pupil size which may indicate a possible concussion.
- Check the neck for feather loss or feathers matted together, which may indicate an underlying wound.
- Feel the body, particularly the breast (keel) bone and breast (pectoral) muscles. If the breast hone is prominent and the muscles are wasted, starvation or some chronic illness is indicated. Feathers lost or matted together may indicate a wound.
- Examine each wing. Take hold of the wingtip and pull. It is away from the body, to extend the full wing so that the bones and joints can be felt for, possible fractures and dislocations. Wounds or bleeding may be detected.
- In practice, fractures are more easily detected from the underside of the wing.
- Lastly, feel the legs for fractures. The bones in the leg are easier to feel if the leg is extended.
Transporting the Bird
- An injured or ill bird may be transported to the veterinarian or wildlife center in such containers as:
– A cage with a cover.
– A cardboard box punched with a few air holes and lined with toweling.
– A sock.
– A sack with a hole just large enough for the bird’s head to poke through.
- All these containers will provide some warmth and subdued lighting, thereby calming the bird and alleviating shock. Your choice will depend on the availability of materials and the size of the bird.
See more: Bird Bleeding