How to Restrain a Bird

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How to Restrain a Bird. Knowing how to effectively and safely restrain your pet bird will make things easier when you're clipping wings, trimming claws and beak, checking your bird's weight and attending to emergency first-aid procedures.

Things You'll Need

  • Bath Towels
  • Bird Nets

Choose an appropriate-size towel to wrap your bird in - a small kitchen towel for finches, budgies and cockatiels; a small bath towel for small to medium-size parrots; a big towel or blanket for large macaws.

Dim the lights if your bird is extremely shy and fragile - this is common with canaries, budgies and finches.

Approach the bird when he's in his cage or in a closed room, and maneuver him into the corner of the cage or room.

Drape the cloth gently over the bird, completely covering his wings and head.

Control the bird's head by placing your thumb and forefinger along the lower section of the beak or mandible. Another way to do this is to wrap your thumb and forefinger around the neck and apply slight pressure to the bottom edge of the mandible.

Envelop the wings quickly with the trailing edge of the towel, and wrap the bird up in the towel, leaving the bottom end open for birds with long tail feathers.

Lift the bird and rotate him so his underside is facing up.

Cradle the bird in your hands or in the crook of one arm, but try to keep the bird mostly vertical so he can breathe more easily. Allow the bird's feet to grab on to the towel.

Have an assistant help you so one person can hold the bird while the other trims the claws or does whatever needs to be done.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a bird net to catch a small aviary bird, and restrain him with your bare hands or a small, light cloth.
  • Use just enough pressure to keep the bird from getting free. The feathers, skin and bones of birds can be damaged if excessive force is used.
  • Avoid using terry cloth towels for small birds, such as finches, budgies or cockatiels. Their claws or toes can get caught in the loops of the fabric.
  • When working on the wings or feet, remove one wing or foot from the towel at a time.
  • Respiratory distress or death could occur if you wrap the bird too tightly, block his nasal passages at the base of the beak, or keep him on his back too long; ask a veterinarian or experienced bird handler to demonstrate this technique for you.
  • Birds of prey, such as eagles, hawks, owls and falcons, should not be captured in this manner, as they can cause serious injury to the handler. If you find an injured bird of prey, contact your local humane society or wildlife rescue group for assistance.

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