Sparrows are sold for pennies, but exotic birds can cost a fortune. Unfortunately, stealing birds can be highly profitable, so you’ll want to take some precautions to guard your bird against anyone with ill intent. If your bird does manage to get kidnapped or escapes for some reason, thankfully there are also some ways you can try to track them down. Here are some tips for protecting your bird from getting stolen as well as recovering the bird if it does get stolen.
How To Protect Your Pet Bird From Being Stolen
1. Make Sure They Have a Leg Band or Microchip
A microchip is the most effective way to recover a lost animal. Unlike a tag, it can never come off. If you decide on a microchip, remember to update your information every time you move or change phone numbers.
2. Avoid Placing Exotic Birds in Front Windows
While you might want to keep their cage somewhere sunny, you shouldn’t choose a public place like your front window or screen porch. Not only are they less secure than a room towards the center of your house, but it also blatantly advertises that you have an expensive bird. Even if people aren’t interested in the bird, it could also prompt them to break into your house anyway because it follows that people who have a nice bird may also have nice things.
3. Let Your Neighbors Know You Have an Exotic Bird & Form a Neighborhood Watch
Of course, this advice only works if you know and trust your neighbors. Never tell a stranger that you have an exotic bird. If you have a neighborhood watch, be sure to let your community know if your bird has any caretakers that are okay to come into your house. This way they don’t suspect a break-in when it’s really the sitter feeding your bird while you’re on vacation.
4. Invest in a Security System
Set up cameras and employ a professional security system. Be sure to put up the company’s sign in your front lawn as an extra deterrent. Here’s a tip: Even if you can’t afford a security system, you should still put up a sign as no one will know the difference.
5. Take Plenty of Detailed Pictures of Your Bird to Be Able to Identify Them Later
We already know the low storage space on your phone is your parrot’s fault. However, make sure you have several pictures that capture minute details that might help set your bird apart, such as a distinct feather pattern. This will make it easier to identify and recover your bird if it does get stolen, as well as a way to tell other people to be on the lookout.
How To Recover Your Lost or Stolen Bird
In the rare event your bird is stolen, try not to panic. First, try to determine whether your bird really was stolen or if it escaped. This should be a fairly easy process, as you should be able to tell whether anyone broke into your house by the presence of broken glass and whether anything else was missing. While it’s possible that someone stealthily crept in simply to take the bird, it’s unlikely that they would have missed the costly electronic device right by the bird’s cage, for instance. Your steps for recovering the bird are about the same regardless if they were stolen or ran away. As soon as you realize that you bird is gone, you should:
6. Thoroughly Search Your House & Garden
Maybe your bird hasn’t wandered off too far. If you don’t see them or hear them within a few minutes, then proceed with the next step on your search as soon as you can.
7. Call the Police
File a police report. Note the last time you saw the bird and what time you noticed if they were missing, as well as any additional information you might have.
8. Notify Your Neighborhood Watch Group
Tell your neighbors that your bird is missing and ask them to keep on the lookout. If you suspect the bird was stolen, ask if they noticed anything unusual in the neighborhood around the time the bird went missing.
You should be able to positively identify whether your bird was stolen or ran away by looking at your security cameras. Be sure to notify the police about any details of the thief, including what they were wearing and what they looked like.
10. Call Your Local Animal Shelter
While it’s highly unlikely, animal shelters do receive birds from time to time, and it never hurts to check.
11. Check Social Media Pages for Lost & Found or Resale Groups
Websites like Facebook often have local lost and found pages where people will post animals that they find. You can also post a flyer of your bird in case someone has some information. Check resale groups also in case the thief tries to sell your bird on social media.
You can print posters with your bird’s name, picture, and your phone number in hopes that someone will see them on their walk. Keep in mind though that the thief—and potential future thieves—can see these flyers too, so don’t list anything super personal such as your address.
13. Keep an Eye for Online Listings of Birds for Sale
Craigslist scammers sometimes try to sell stolen or lost animals, even if they only make a small profit. If you do find them, take the information to the police, along with identifiable information such as pictures proving the bird is yours.
We have all invested time, care, and money into our pets, so it’s natural that we should take every precaution to make sure they’re safe. Since exotic birds are expensive, they can be an easy target for an unscrupulous individual who’s looking for a quick way to make money. However, there are a few things you can do to make it less likely for your bird to become stolen, such as not making it obvious that you own an expensive bird to a passerby, and installing security cameras as a deterrence against break-ins. If your bird does go missing, be sure to act quickly and cover your bases for the best chance of recovery.
Featured Image Credit: MAKY_OREL, Pixabay