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Catching an Escaped Budgie

A finger-tamed budgie who is outside the cage at an unscheduled time will be easy to recapture – simply use the finger-and-millet lure, and quietly return him to the cage. Never scold him for escaping – he will merely link your finger with the frightening sound and the stress it causes him, which is not what you want.

The problem becomes greater if the bird is untamed. Here, you will need to lure him back without your finger-perch to help you. Removing all food and handy perches from beyond the cage will speed things up. If you have time, just wait for him to become hungry, and he will find his way back indoors. If more haste is required, you may have to resort to catching him in a net or towel.

escaped budgie indoors
Even indoors an escaped budgie can be hard to catch

Budgie Capturing Kit

If the recapture of an escaped bird moves beyond a closed room, your campaign of recapture needs to be well planned. You’ll need a budgie-capturing kit consisting of a net and towel, a cage or carrying box, a cage cover, a millet spray, and a recording of budgies chattering (an MP3 on your mobile phone will do the trick). Your own voice is a useful weapon, too, as that will be a very familiar sound to your pet bird.

Catching a Budgie Outside

Your chances of recapturing an AWOL budgie outdoors depend on how soon you realise he’s escaped. It will be easier to lure him back if he’s still in the vicinity of his cage and cage-mates; but if he’s flown further afield, you’ll struggle.

The first place an al fresco escapee is likely to go is to the top of the outdoor cage, or to a nearby tree. If he’s simply nipped through an open window and there is no outdoor cage, he’ll head for your roof/gutter or a high tree/fence.

escaped budgie
Spotting your escaped bird is a good start, but there's still lots to do to recapture it

Budgies’ tendency to seek out high places doesn’t assist in their recapture, but the trick is to lure the bird down to your millet-loaded hand or portable, food-stuffed cage.

  • Try calling his name while holding out the millet; or play the recording of the talking budgies.
  • If he comes to your finger, gently bring your other hand close and take hold of him (as described in Holding a budgie, above), to prevent further problems.
  • Place the budgie cage somewhere high, and in clear view of the escaped bird or his last known whereabouts, with the cage doors open. Attach some tempting food to the inside bars.
  • If the budgie is used to perching on you, stand with his favourite food in your hand and call him. If you have more than one bird (and more than one cage), place his friends next to the open cage, and their calls will hopefully lure him back home.
  • If he lands on top of the cage (which he is likely to do, rather than going straight inside), use the millet as a lure and try to get him onto your finger. If you succeed, close your other hand round him to prevent him flying away again.
  • If the budgie has absconded from an aviary, you can’t just leave the doors open and tempt him in with food. Place millet (or some other favourite treat) in a small cage on top of the aviary, or as close to it as possible. The sound of the other budgies will hopefully tempt him back soon enough, at which point you will need to net him.

Do Escaped Budgies Come Back?

A bird that has flown further afield is a lot harder to recapture. He will not necessarily return to the cage or aviary, driven on by a mixture of anxiety, disorientation and curiosity. There are no guarantees of his return and you must rely on luck and cunning to get him back.

If the bird is on the move, follow on foot, carrying with you the budgie-capturing equipment mentioned above. He will not travel far on his first flight away from the cage, so even if you didn’t see him leave, as long as you notice his absence within the first hour of his escape, you’re in with a decent chance of locating him in the vicinity. Listen for his voice – he will probably be calling to his absent friends, or trying to make contact with other birds he encounters (a house sparrow’s chirrup is not dissimilar to a budgie’s, and will often provoke a reply). If you can’t see him, play the recording of the budgie voices, and listen for his response.

When you catch up with him, try to lure him down with a combination of millet, cage and budgie song. He will be tired, and if he’s been away for a long time he will probably be hungry too. But he will also be stressed, and not inclined to fly down from the safety of the tree or rooftop he’s resting on. This, sadly, is where a lot of budgie chases end. The bird remains high and dry, and eventually flies away and out of sight. Your only chance of capturing him is to tempt him down. If he’s on a rooftop, there is the possibility of getting yourself into the closest upstairs room and trying to lure him from there.

escaped budgie in a tree
Luring an escaped budgie down from a tree or rooftop is a tricky process

A net on a long stick occasionally works. Load the net with millet and move it ever-so-slowly towards the budgie. Scoop him up and bring him down quickly, removing him from the net with your hand and returning him to the cage. He will be stressed and unhappy, but a cage cover will assist in calming him down during the journey home.

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Jim, 27 May 2021

4 weeks ago a beautiful green parakeet appeared at my bird feeders. I have attempted to find out if it was tame. He/she is not. The beauty is at the feeders every day. He now flies with sparrows all over. It really appears they have accepted his as one o their own. No one answered a newspaper ad. I will hate to see winter though

Bradley, 14 May 2021

Ngoc-Anh, if your birds are still missing, they aren't coming back. I am so sorry, it must be very hard to hear this, and your parents may not have wanted to tell you. You have given your birds a wonderful life full of love, but it's time for them to rest now. Love and care for the birds you still have, its what your bird would have wanted.

Luciy, 1 May 2021

Hello I lost 2 blue parakeets near lake grove in lake oswego. They are around 3 months old and one has a yellow patch on the side of his beak. They like all kinds of seeds If you see him please send a picture and contact me by email at

Hanaa, 11 April 2021

i lost my budgie in al majamah saudi arabia in matar area he is white and has light blue belly if you see him call on 0538077360 or message on the same number please

Ngoc-Anh, 24 March 2021

I lost my budgie on February 26 2021 I had him for 9 months and i am really attached to him he is dark green and he is kind of nice he will bit if I talk to someone else or if i go on my dad or moms phone. He knows some trick he knows the call kemand and he can say "I love you" and "Peekaboo" and some other words or i think he does or its just my ears he has a blue nose and a mate named Aqua she is really depressed that he is missing and I miss him a lot! I am young i am not even 11. So please don't lie I really miss him and been crying a lot i ask all my friend to help me find him. And his mate does not want to eat with the other bird and she is attacking my cockatiel! so i really need him back it has been 4 weeks i am not sure if he still alive. but even if he is died give him to me i just want to know. he was last seen in my room. he was missing when i got home and when i leave i don't put my budgies in the cage when i leave nothing like this ever happened to me before. I don't know if he is died in my house but if you seen him just leave a comment with my name. I left his favorite food and a cage that looks like his out he didn't come back still don't know if he is in my house or if he is lost i put 3 missing poster up. My mom does not let me put a reward. I really miss him... if you do see him comment with my name on him it Ngoc-Anh Ton people call me Moon Ton though. He was missing near sacramento CA February 26 2021 He is not a big fan of strangers but if he need help he may follow you that is what he does when he is hungry he is my everything he is the nicest and smartest bird i have i also have a missing cockatiel called Dawn he is yellow and male he has a mate named Raspberry She layed eggs 3 weeks ago Dawn was missing on October 2020 and I have a male canary missing he was missing on summer 2020 i forgot when he is white with a yellow/orange beak I really is them if you know where they are please comment my name

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