If the house is on fire and your parrot refuses to exit its bird cage, a more aggressive technique is, of course, necessary. However, these more antagonistic capture techniques should not be used as an easy replacement for teaching a parrot to exit its bird cage compliantly.
Courtesy Jerry & Linda King, Missouri
Practice removing your parrot from its bird cage so you are both prepared in the event of a real emergency.
Aggressive techniques are likely to cause long-term damage to the parrot-person bond. Fear can be incredibly destructive to a relationship of trust, and the damage can take months of hard work to repair. However, if the house is on fire, you do what you need to do and deal with the repercussions later.
That said, the classic towel capture used by veterinarians is quite functional when it comes to removing a recalcitrant parrot from its bird cage. Moving slowly and talking calmly, the human enters the bird cage area with towel held open between the hands. Care must be taken not to move quickly until it is obvious that there is a clear path to capture.
Do not attempt capture if the parrot is hanging upside-down from the bird cage ceiling or high on the sides. The frightened bird may abruptly release its grip, causing a potentially injurious fall. Instead, slowly encourage the bird down to the bottom of the bird cage prior to capture.
Once the parrot is covered with the towel, quickly locate and secure the bird’s head with one hand, and gently wad the bird up in the towel, enabling the bird’s safe removal from the bird cage. Make sure you allow free motion of the chest so the bird can breathe.
Incidentally, small bird cage doors make this maneuver more difficult. A door that covers at least half the front of the bird cage is ideal.
Parrots in smaller bird cages are easier to remove if the cage can be picked up. Place the bird cage on the floor, and remove the food and water dishes. Then remove the cage tray, and slowly turn the bird cage upside-down. Most birds will voluntarily exit the cage to the friendly perch of an offered hand.