If your bird went missing (heaven forbid), would you be able to recognize him/her, could you prove beyond reasonable doubt, that if your bird was found, that it belonged to you?
Here are some guidelines for you:
- If you are taking your bird outside, make sure the wings are clipped; it doesn’t matter how tame/social the bird is. A sudden noise could scare it, and off it will go!
- Have photographs taken regularly of your bird(s), close-up shots of irregular markings, etc. (especially in case of Macaws, their face feathers are like fingerprints). Have pictures taken of yourself with the bird(s).
- If your bird is banded (ringed), make a note of the number/colour of the band and keep it in a safe place. (Note: If your bird has been stolen, it is likely that the first thing the thief will do is remove the band).
- Look for irregularities in the feathering (a few feathers may be a different colour in an unusual spot).
- Look for other irregularities (toe missing, chip in beak, etc.) and be able to describe this exactly e.g. in the case of a toe missing, which foot? Which toe?
- Keep all your veterinary invoices, medical documents for the bird(s).
- Be able to explain how you got the bird (pet store, breeder, etc.), and keep a copy of the invoice/bill of sale to verify proof of ownership.
- Does your bird talk? If so, what does he/she say? Does he/she say this word/phrase at a specific event/time of the day?
- Does your bird have any peculiar habits which might distinguish him/her from another bird of the same species?
- Golden Rule: “Know your bird”. In the event that you have “lost” your bird, notify your local S.P.C.A., humane society, all local pet stores, breeders (including your own if that’s where you purchased the bird), local bird clubs, societies, organizations, sanctuaries, (the police if it was stolen), put ads in your local papers, etc.