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Getting a Bird Out of A Room

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Wild birds sometimes find their way into homes or other buildings through doors that are left open for long periods of time.  If you find a bird stuck indoors, first put all pets in other rooms so that they cannot harm or cause further stress to the bird.  Then assess the condition of the bird. 


If it is having trouble flying (other than falling when it accidentally hits a wall) or seems otherwise injured, call a wildlife rehabilitation center, close off other rooms to confine the bird to one place, and darken the room to minimize stress to the bird. 


If the bird is flying and appears normal, encourage it to leave by following the steps below.  Note that these steps are designed to get a bird out of a house or similar building and may not work for all situations. For example, sometimes birds fly into grocery stores, where typically the ceilings are high, the room is large and wide open, and it is not practical to turn off all the lights.  In a situation like this, it is advised that you call a wildlife rehabilitation center if you are not experienced in catching birds.

1. Turn off lights to minimize stress and confusion to the bird.  Also close curtains and/or blinds on windows to darken the room as much as possible.  

2. Contain the bird in one room. It's easier for a bird to find its way out if you minimize the wrong turns it could take. Your actions should depend on which room the bird is currently in:

  • If the bird is stuck in a room with a door or window leading outside, close all other doors to keep the bird from going further into the building.

  • If the bird is stuck in an interior room with no outside exits, close all doors except one that leads to a room with an exit.  Turn on the lights in the room with the exit to attract the bird, and wait for it to fly in.  Do not chase the bird- this causes unnecessary stress, and it will eventually fly into the other room without any interference.  You may have to leave the room or stand in a corner away from the exit until the bird flies into the other room.  Be careful not to block the exit.  Once the bird is in a room with an exterior exit, close all interior doors and turn off the lights.  Close and darken all exterior doors and windows except for a single door or window that will be used as the exit.  This makes it easier for the bird to see the exit.

3. Allow the bird to exit outside. One large exit point is preferable to multiple open windows and/or doors because a darker room enables the bird to find the outside more easily. It isn't necessary or advised at this point to chase the bird towards the window- just let it find its way on its own. Be careful not to stand in front of the exit point, because you don't want to stress the bird out.

4. Leave the bird alone and remain calm.  Stay away from the bird, but check on it periodically without disturbing it. If after half an hour it has not escaped, hold up a sheet with both hands and try to direct the bird while remaining calm.  Call a wildlife rehabilitation center, such as Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network or Animal Rescue Team, if a bird injures itself while trying to escape, or if you aren't having any luck getting it out.

To prevent further incidents, install screens on your windows and hang magnetic mesh curtains on any exterior doors that you frequently leave open so that birds don't accidentally find their way in.  Additionally, avoid putting vases of flowers, potted plants, or anything else that might attract birds inside, near the doors.

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