Getting a Bird Out of your House

Try the Interactive Wildlife Advisor for step by step advice on how to help a bird escape from a room.

Wild birds sometimes find their way into homes through doors that are left open for long periods of time.  If you find a bird in  your house, 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 such as the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, 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 your house by following these steps:

1. Turn off the lights to minimize stress and confusion to the bird.

2. 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 your house.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Leave the bird alone, being careful not to block the exit, until it leaves.  If after half an hour it has not left, try holding up a sheet in both hand and directing the bird with it.  Do not otherwise chase or attempt to catch the bird.  If it still does not escape or if it injures itself, call a wildlife rehabilitation center.

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.