How’d you wind up with a bird in house? And, what’s the fastest way to get her back out before she gets hurt? First, don’t panic. You’ll be able to get her safely back outside with the steps explained below. Afterward, see if the tips on ways to make a repeat situation less likely might be relevant for your home.
What to do about a wild bird in your house…
A bird will naturally fly toward light when trying to get out of an enclosed area, so adjust the light in the room to guide the bird toward an open door or window.
- Close doors to other rooms.
- Open a window or door to the outside.
- Close shades or curtains on other windows.
- Turn out lights, so the only light is the natural light from outside.
- Step outside, or move to the far side of the room, giving the bird a clear path out.
If this isn’t enough to help her find her way out, hold a sheet or blanket in front of you and approach slowly. This will enable you to guide her toward the open door or window without frightening her too much. In houses where the ceilings are not too high, you may be able to gently “herd” a sparrow out using a “moving wall.”
- If the lights are on, turn them off then open as many doors and windows as possible.
- For a larger room tie a bed sheet between two broom handles (or similar long handled implement) holding the sheet edge flush with the ceiling creating your “moving wall.” For smaller rooms a large cushion might suffice.
- So as not to panic the bird, slowly and gently herd the bird toward an open exterior door. If the bird panics, it may fly into windows or other barriers. So be careful not to press the bird to leave for too long this could lead to exhaustion and other complications.
If this doesn’t work, try putting seed and water in small dishes at the open door or window. Remove yourself from the room to give the bird an hour or two to get hungry, thirsty, or brave enough to investigate. When she does, she’ll find her path to freedom. If she appears to be injured or stunned from bumping into something, allow her an hour or two to recover and find her way out. If that doesn’t happen, it’s time to find help for her. Gently capture her with a soft cloth, place her and the cloth in a box with air holes, and keep things quiet. Call a wildlife rehabber who specializes in helping injured birds they will be able to help you ascertain what the next steps should be. Do not offer food or water to an injured bird, as this may cause harm.
Which birds tend to get in, and how…
The birds who tend to end up inside homes and buildings are usually those who nest in vents and in other opportune spots that homes and buildings provide. Thus, your most likely accidental visitors are house sparrows, European starlings, pigeons, or doves. When windows are open without screens, doors are open without screen doors, or doors are frequently opened and closed as people go in and out, birds may accidentally fly inside. If, on the off chance chimney swift nestlings have fallen from their nest (these amazing birds build their small nests in chimneys) and made their way into your home through the fireplace, follow this advice for helping re-nest them.
To minimize the chance of having a bird accidentally enter your home, add screens to all windows you intend to open, and a screen door on each exterior door. Put commercially made covers on vents for your attic, stove, and dryer—but only do so outside of the nesting season, and, even then, make sure no birds are inside. If you live in the city or suburbs, or have a metal flue, cap your chimney, after ensuring that no birds or other animals are present.