How to Find a Lost Bird: Simple Steps to Get Your Pet Home

A lost bird spotted by neighbors

Key takeaways

Watching your bird fly away is a heartbreaking feeling. It can feel like a hopeless situation, but it's essential you're proactive in finding them again.

In this guide, we'll outline the three most important steps to take to increase your chances of finding your feathery friend.

These include reporting them missing, spreading the message, and physically searching for them.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. 1. Report them missing
  3. 2. Spread the message
  4. 3. Physically search
  5. FAQs
  6. Final thoughts

1. Report them missing

Being the only person searching for your lost bird can feel like an impossible task. Our birds can fly a long way away and naturally seek high areas, meaning it can be incredibly difficult to find them. This is why reporting them missing is essential.

Local animal shelters

Notifying animal shelters in your area is a great place to start. It's likely that if members of the public had spotted your bird, they would have reported the sighting to animal shelters.
When you contact them, be sure to include the following information:

A physical description: Providing detailed descriptions of memorable physical traits will help shelters identify your bird accurately.

Photos: If possible, emailing or handing in photos of your bird can make the process even more effective and efficient.

Contact details: Ensure the shelters have all of your details so they can contact you as soon as there are any updates. Provide them with phone numbers, email addresses, and postal addresses.

Expert Insight: These shelters will also be able to offer some expert advice on the best way to find your bird. They'll know the area well and most likely will have dealt with similar experiences in the past.
a busy animal shelter


If someone has managed to catch your lost bird, they may have taken it to the local veterinarian for a checkup.
Because many birds are too small to be microchipped, there's often no way for a vet to be able to identify the owners of an injured or lost bird. This is why the more clinics you contact, the more likely it is to be reunited with your feathery friend.

Animal control

Animal control is an organization that can be truly valuable to involve in the search for your best bud. They can:

Offer expert advice: These organizations have years and years of experience with animals and lost pets. They'll be able to give you the best tips and advice to help you get your bird back as soon as possible.

Help the search effort: Often, animal control agencies will have specific people ready to help owners in the search for their pets. The more people, the better!

Offer resources: These agencies will have humane traps and other resources that can make capturing your bird easier.

A lost bird flying away

2. Spread the message

As we've mentioned, searching alone for your feathery friend is a difficult process. To cover more ground and ensure more eyes are on the lookout, spreading the message is essential.

Distribute flyers

Distributing missing bird posters can be very effective in notifying as many neighbors as possible. When you create a poster, use the following tips to make it as eye-catching as possible:

Use bright, primary colors: Using yellows, reds, and oranges can help catch people's attention because they imply urgency and importance. Keeping the color scheme simple will also help the poster and the information on it clear.

Keep text limited: To make your flyer readable and scannable, keep the information short and succinct. Break down big chunks of text into bullet points so passers-by can read about your bird quickly.

Include high-quality photos: Including multiple color photos that show your bird's memorable physical features will make your poster more interesting and help passers-by identify your feathery friend.

a lost bird poster on a phone

Start a PetRadar search

When you report your bird missing with PetRadar, we'll alert over 4,000 people in your area. We do this by creating sponsored posts or advertisements on social media that show your missing pet.
This means when your neighbors are scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram feeds, an image and description of your missing bird will pop up. From this post, they can report a sighting, save it for later, or send it to a friend.
By spreading awareness using this method, we've managed to reunite over 12,000 lost pets with their owners! When you sign up, we'll also:

Send you a free, printable lost pet poster: Our missing pet poster is expertly designed and includes a QR code that passers-by can scan to report a sighting. This means you don't need to publish any private contact details.

Offer constant support and guidance: Our team of animal lovers will be with you every step of the way, offering advice, support, and guidance.

List your lost bird on our website: We'll list your feathery friend on our website so if anyone finds them and searches the internet for a missing bird, your pet will pop up, and they can report a sighting.

PetRadar's expert team helping find a lost bird

3. Physically search

One of the most effective ways to find your bird is to physically search for them. If you spot them, they may recognize you and come to you so you can get them back home safely.

Look up and listen

A lost parrot or bird's instinct will be to seek high places. This lets them assess their surroundings and understand their environment. Common places to find your lost bird include:

House roofs

Tall buildings

Tall trees


Satellite poles

Your bird will also probably be calling and vocalizing, so be sure to listen carefully so you can identify your pet's chirp.
Expert Insight: Birds often go quiet when they see you because they start to relax.
a lost parrot in the sky

Lure them home

Luring feathery friends home can be a very effective way to find them. It's likely after their adventure, they'll be seeking some comfort and will want nothing more than to be back in a safe space. You can make this easier for them by attracting them back home. Try:

Leaving their cage open outside: Your bird's familiar territory will be very appealing to them, especially if they've been away from home for a while. Keep an eye on the cage, and if you see your bird fly into it, act quickly by closing the door and bringing them inside.

Leave fresh water outside: Your pet is likely to be pretty thirsty from their adventures, and they may not have been able to find a water source. Their survival instincts will kick in, making your feathery friend focus on finding water, so leaving some outside your home can be very effective.

Leave food and treats outside: Choosing their favorite treat, some food, and even some toys to leave outside will help your bird identify their home.

a lost bird next to their cage


How do you deal with a lost bird?

If you have lost your bird, you should report them missing straight away. This can include posting on social media, calling local shelters and pet stores, and reporting them missing with your vet.

How do I find my lost bird?

To find your lost bird, you should report them missing immediately, physically search for them, and take steps to lure them back home.

What to do if you find a lost bird?

If you find a lost bird, you should report it to local animal shelters and animal control as soon as possible. They will be able to check whether they match the description of any current missing birds and contact the owner.

Will my bird fly away if I take it outside?

If you haven't trained your bird to come back to you or they aren't used to the outdoors, it's likely they will fly away if you take them outside.

Do birds that fly away come back?

Often, birds that fly away will eventually come back. If they have lived at your home for a while, they will recognize that as their home and be able to find their way back.

How do I find the owner of a lost bird?

To find the owner of a lost bird, call around local shelters, veterinarians, pet stores, and animal control. They'll be able to tell you whether they match the description of a current missing pet and contact the owner.

How do you catch a bird?

To catch a bird, you need to be patient. Lure them home with treats, water, and toys, and leave their cage open outside. Watch carefully, and when they fly in, close the door quickly and bring them inside.

Final thoughts

It can be terrifying when we see our beloved pets fly away. But stay hopeful. Patience and being proactive will increase the chances of finding your lost bird.
If your pet is still missing, start a PetRadar search. We'll support you through the whole process, offering our expert guidance and emotional support. We've already found over 12,000 lost pets, so you'll be in good hands!

Written by

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Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

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