How To Deal With An Over Nighter

Read Fly Off/Recovery document before this one!

So, your bird has got itself stuck overnight outdoors? What you do depends if you know where your bird is. You’ll be pleased to know that regardless of your bird’s location they are highly unlikely to move during the night. Parrots can’t see in the dark very well and therefore moving at night time would put them at risk.

Please try not to panic if your bird has to spend the night outdoors. It is a valuable lesson for everyone!

You Know Where Your Bird Is:

  1. Do NOT leave your bird until it is pitch black. If you leave any time before it is really dark there is a high chance your bird will attempt to chase after you which could risk them getting lost due to not having great vision at night. You essentially want your bird to believe you were there with them all night.
  2. Be prepared to wake up before sunrise and get to the location your bird was in before it starts getting light.
  3. Once you get to said location wait until it starts getting brighter. Do NOT call your bird or attempt to encourage recovery until it is bright enough for you to clearly see your bird. Calling any earlier could potentially cause a fly off as your bird won’t be able see you well and may not feel confident.
  4. Once your bird has noticed you ensure you have positioned yourself in the best recovery position possible. Don’t stand directly under the tree/house as beginner free fliers will really struggle to descend in this fashion and could fly off if they do not feel confident. Go to a wide-open spot where your bird has easy access to you and where they can see you.
  5. Begin calling your bird back to you. You can dance, sing, shake treat tubs, anything to make your bird super excited! Obviously please be aware of time and where you are as you don’t want to have angry individuals telling you off for screaming at 5am.
  6. Usually birds will attempt to return to their owners a few hours after an over-nighter.
  7. Heavily reward their return and get them home safely. Once home ensure there are no injuries and allow your bird to rest as much as possible! Also, make sure you get some sleep too!

You Don’t Know Where Your Bird Is:

  1. Keep searching for your bird within a 5-mile radius of the rally point. Ideally have a friend or parent that your bird recognises remain at the rally point as it is very common for birds to attempt to return to this spot because this is where they last saw you. Keep searching until it is pitch black. Make sure to also keep an eye on social media. It will be your best friend at this point. Many birds, including my own, have been successfully recovered thanks to local Facebook groups.
  2. Once you get home post about your bird being lost on social media. Do NOT include their ring number or any details that could potentially cause your bird to get stolen. Keep in mind that majority of individuals don’t know different parrot species so often a description is better. For example, instead of typing “LOST MILITARY MACAW” it’ll be easier for people to read “LOST LARGE GREEN PARROT WITH RED HEAD FLUFF”. Ensure to also include a very clear image of your bird and your mobile number, as well as the rough location your bird went missing in.
  3. Wake up before sunrise and head towards the rally point. Again, you are really wanting someone to remain at the rally point in case your birds first instincts are to return in search of you. While someone waits at the rally point keep searching the area. These birds will usually spend a night high up in a tree or even on top of a house.
  4. If possible get friends involved so that you can search the 5-mile radius quickly. Even ask dog walkers to keep an eye out in trees. You can also print some posters with a photo and description of your bird, as well as your phone number, and hand them out while you’re searching.
  5. Don’t give up. It is extremely rare for these birds to just fly off and never be seen again.

Example of a lost parrot poster.