Someone in my area keeps losing American budgies. Back when I lost my lovebird, Jake, someone called me to say they found him. In reality, they had found a blue budgie in the dugout of the school baseball field. No one claimed her, so I kept her.

Just a couple weeks ago, I saw a blue budgie flying around my aviaries, looking for food and water. I managed to tease him into the airlock on my aviary and netted him. He’s in the big aviary now with the cockatiels. I had one person say he was their bird, but the picture they sent showed a bird with dark stripes on the wings, my found bird has only faint markings.

lost bird

These always make me think of all the birds that have gone out into the wild from my cages. I lost a budgie once out of an octagonal cage, but luckily the bird didn’t fly well, and I got a net over it quickly.

Of course, lovebird Jake was a nightmare, due to me walking outside with him on my shoulder. He had gone there without my being aware of him. Sadly, he was killed by a hawk shortly after that. I will never forget my horror as I realized he would not come to me.

Jake black border

When I organized my first Bird Mart for my club, a nice lady donated a cage full of lovebirds. She had a proven pair and all the chicks they had hatched out. She didn’t think they would have chicks since they were in a cage inside. I don’t mean to put her down because at least she knew she needed to give up the birds, but she moved them in the cage she was donating, and as she pulled it out of her car, a door flipped open and one of the youngsters escaped.

After we got the remaining birds inside, we helped the woman track the escaped bird. She asked a man whose lemon tree the bird landed in, to hose the bird down to make it harder for it to fly. Soaking wet, the bird headed south and we never saw it again. The woman was so sure the bird loved her and would come to her.

041416 button quail

I’ve lost button quail when trying to get them into an enclosure outside. Don’t ever believe that buttons can’t fly except straight up. Those tiny suckers can go up and over, high enough to clear a fence. I hope someone might have found it, but probably a cat or hawk or other predator had a meal of fast food.

Only once have I lost a zebra finch out of the aviary. The chick was just fledged, and later that day I saw it back on top of the cage, trying to get in. I grabbed a net and tried to catch it, but it went into the neighbor’s yard, never to be seen again. I qualify this instance as losing a finch out of the aviary because I often lose them out of inside cages. Mike insists that I close the bird room door while I try to net finches. They get past me in a rush of feathers, but as we are inside, I can catch them again quickly.

closeup lucky week one
Lucky first week

I lost a cockatiel that I was hand feeding when I stood with the front door open believing all the birds were safe in their cages. I thought I saw a cockatiel fly over me, but not until I found out one of the just weaned birds was missing did I realize she had opened the cage and been hanging around, waiting her change to go out.

0901017 grief

Perhaps these experiences are why I am terrified and have nightmares of leaving all the doors open for the aviary and losing all my outside birds in one stupid move. I hope not, and really will try to practice safety first. But sometimes I give a bird out time and then forget when I leave the house. I am ever lucky that those birds know how good they have it at the Hungerford Home for Happy Hookbills. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.

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