TIPS ON HOW TO PREVENT
BIRD THEFTS AND RECOVER LOST BIRDS
Bird thefts have been on the rise lately. Many of the victims are large aviaries with security backup. This leads one to believe that there are professional rings of bird thieves either acting
alone or paid by another agent from the USA or foreign countries. Market prices of many species of birds are astronomically high in other countries. Many large breeders already legally export birds for the better prices.
Birds can live for days-weeks months, and even years after an escape. Never give up.
Tips will be posted here to help find lost birds and to deter these
- Use portable and cellular phones discreetly. Unless you're on a
900mhz portable phone or a scrambled phone, your conversations may be heard
on nearby scanners.
- Use baby monitors from your aviary into your house.
- Screen your calls about birds. Try to get a number to return the
- Find out as much as you can about visitors to your aviary. If possible,
get a license plate number from their vehicle (have someone get it while
you are busy with the customer).
- Be sure to get verifiable phone numbers and addresses of visitors
to your aviary.
- Do not let strangers into your aviary.
- Do not ever mention to anyone what your security setup is.
- Your guard dogs should all be housed outside with the exception
of one. Some thefts have been purposely conducted during rainstorms when
the dogs are inside.
- If possible, underground wiring should be done on alarm systems
with good battery or generator backup.
- Do not indicate to anyone the number of birds you have.
- Form a coalition of aviary guards.
- On your websites, do not list your address. You can give that information
out later on by e-mail if you feel it's safe to. If you advertise very
rare birds on your site, then don't even put a phone number in.
- Always look for your bird BEFORE sun-up while it is still dark, and AFTER
sundown. They are the most vocal then, and the most active.
- Day 3 is when they get hungry and try to come in for food, they will go to just about any one at that time if they are tame.
- ALWAYS have a recording of your bird when it is playing and having the most fun. Play this recording intermittently as you look for him.
- Throw food on rooftops. Place a small cage on the roof of your house, or anyone's where they bird has been seen.
- Tell people to put him in a pillow case, and have friends carrying pillowcases while looking, or small cages. Sometimes birds are caught by inexperienced holders and they don't know what to do with them.
- Water hoses do work if you can spray him shortly after his escape. Hit him with as much water as you can all at once. He is heavy from not having exercise, and the water throws him off enough to ground him for a bit. Do not drench just before dark unless you are sure you can get him.
- If possible contact organizations 50 miles away. Sometimes people find them while traveling and go home with them. Many birds can also get that far just flying.
- Give all the children in the neighborhood a buck and tell them there is more if they can locate your bird. Kids tell on people that are hiding them also. Police will not help you retrieve a bird from someone else's home. You have to plan that one very carefully if they decide they want to keep your bird. Birds that you highly value should be DNA'd (a very reasonably priced test). There are no questions then about ownership.
- Have someone watch the bird at all times if he is spotted and you need to go for help.
- If you try to climb the tree, it oftentimes scares them up. A long branch may be better to coax him onto. Use your head here. Raise his cage to where he is if you can. You can also appeal to your local fire company, tree cutting company or power company to come in with their cherrypicker to retrieve the bird.
- Have friends and family miles away in other cities watch the lost and found ads.
- If he is roosted near dark, wait until dark before trying to retrieve him. They don't fly well at night, and they don't want to fly, but make sure you don't miss. You may use a high powered flashlight to momentarily blind the bird while another person nets or grabs the bird.
- If sighted, keep the mobs of people away, and let the owner try and coax him down. Have your helping friends in tall trees or on roof tops to watch where he goes if he takes off. You NEED spotters prepared and willing.
- If the bird is hanging around but refuses to go in a cage or allow itself to be caught, a Have-A-Heart chipmunk trap may do the trick. This is a small live trap. Anything larger will not work because the bird can go in and out with
impunity. Place the trap high in the area the bird is frequenting. Remember that height equals safety to parrots and most other birds. Be sure to check it frequently. If the bird is caught, it may panic. And, there is a good chance you will catch native birds that need to be released. For little birds, such as lovebirds and budgies, a sparrow trap works well.
Jackie Ermler has submitted the following tips on SECURITY SYSTEMS:
- Birds will set off any audible glass break detector. I have a couple
of suggestions you may wish to consider instead. (I'm not an expert, this
is just MHO):
- 1. Glass break detectors hard wired by pull out to each and every
window in the house including the upstairs. (Please don't be conned into
"You don't have to protect the upstairs".) Any and all skylights
need to have pull-outs and glass break detectors, as well.
- 2. One or more interior motion detectors, outside the bird rooms,
but in direct paths to the bird rooms, provided there are no free running
animals (dogs/cats) present.
- 3. Stress sensors placed strategically in the beams on major access
hallways and staircases to the second floor. (Very easy if the house isn't
- 4. Get a hard-wired system. Never a wireless one.
- 5. Digital point ID, so each sensor is a zone of its own and can
be individually bypassed or enabled as necessary.
- 6. Combination of photoelectric and ionization type smoke detectors
throughout the home.
- 7. Hardwired to the alarm system carbon monoxide detectors on each
floor where combustible products are used.
- 8. Central station connection with a telephone company line seizure
feature. If possible, mount the incoming network interface for the telephone
up at roof level (you will have an argument with the phone company, but
insist on this anyway).
- 9. A line-fault monitor to monitor the status of the phone line.
- 10. A back-up system to the central station digital transmitter,
either by long range radio or derived channel (via phone line), whichever
is available in your area, with the long range radio back-up the more preferable
of the two.
- 11. A USP-45 digital pager transmitter interface to the alarm panel,
so that conventional pagers (up to 4 different people) are notified regardless
of the status of the central station, when alarm events occur.
- 12. 6.2 to 8.0 amp-hour battery installed for stand-by, which provides
up to 8 hours of operation when primary power (electricity) is out.
- 13. A weingardt programmable temperature monitor, to signal an alarm
event when the house temperature falls or rises beyond a preset level.
- 14. Multiple command/control panels to make access and status information
- 15. When shopping for an alarm company, the most important thing
to consider is the central station the company is using. Most companies
do not own their own central stations, but lease time from other providers.
Contract only with a UL approved grade A central station, otherwise your
security may be compromised. (By law, a UL central station must be a secure
facility behind three double steel doors, with armed guard on premises
24/7, redundant inbound phone lines or radio towers, UPS back-up for all
receiving equipment with dual redundant generators. What this means to
you is if your area and central's has a power failure, messages will still
be processed and alarms will still be dispatched.)
- 26. Even if your community allows for direct dial-in to the local
police, the systems are not secure, they are not supervised and can and
often are compromised by even the most amateur burglar. Always use central
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