TIP OF THE DAY:
CATCH THOSE LOOSE BIRDS
KRISTEN REEVES, MEADOWLARK FARMS AVIAN SUPPLY, INC.
Thinking outside the birdcage is often hard for those of us set in our ways. But when it comes to our birds, we sometimes have to be sneaky in order to get them to do what we want, eat what we want them to eat, and go back into their cage with a minimal amount of stress.
My latest foray including rounding up a group of African Fire finches who had been breeding free in a friend's aviary. With nearly 15 foot ceilings and about 30 feet of horizontal flying space, they were not only hard to catch, but hard to chase down! This was going to take some brain power! This Ninja was GOING to capture them unharmed!
What did I do??? Why, I thought like a bird!
After attempting to capture them like a small child with a shoe box, stick and string (open cage door with a string), I realized that wasn't going to work. So I just sat still and read their body language. You can learn a lot about your birds by just sitting and watching them!
Having already caught two of them over the course of two days, I had placed them in a holding cage with food and water. The birds flying free began to hang on the outside of that cage, apparently trying to get IN. THEY WANT TO GET IN - so how can I let them IN without letting the others OUT???
Because there was no cage grate in the bottom of the cages, I decided to attempt to pull just a corner of the cage tray out for the cage that held the already captured birds. Unfortunately, there wasn't quite enough room for the birds to get IN - though they did try.
With a cage above, and a cage below, I figured perhaps they would try to get IN from above or below. So I merely pulled the cage trays out about an inch for the cages above and below the already occupied cage. Within literally minutes, the free birds popped into the pulled out cage trays. I jumped up (here's the Ninja part) and slid the tray into the cage before the captured birds could even see me coming.
Now the first few I caught this way were just silly - there was no food or water in the empty cages - but once I put food and water in the two unoccupied cages, it was like drawing moths to a flame and *POOF* captured Fire finches in about 20 minutes!!!
Obviously your cage setup will determine whether you can use this particular method or not, but if you can "listen" to your birds' body language and watch them carefully, you too can capture them fairly quickly, even in a large space, without causing them any undue stress!