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What do you do if a bird flies into your house?

What do you do if a bird flies into your house?

It can be startling when a bird suddenly flies into your home. You may be worried about the bird injuring itself by panicking and flying into windows or furniture. Birds can also make a mess by knocking things over or leaving droppings. The good news is that in most cases, you can humanely remove the bird yourself. Here are some tips on what to do if a bird gets into your house.

Assess the situation

When a bird flies into your home, the first thing to do is try to remain calm. Take a few deep breaths and assess the situation. Where is the bird located? What kind of bird is it? Is it injured or appearing stressed? Try to observe the bird before taking any action. Knowing the type of bird can help you determine the best course of action. Small songbirds can be more delicate and may need extra care when capturing them. Larger birds like pigeons may require thicker gloves or a net to handle them safely.

Check the area the bird is in and remove any potential hazards. Close doors to smaller rooms to contain the bird in one space. Draw blinds or curtains over windows so the bird does not injure itself by repeatedly flying into the glass. Turn off ceiling fans that could strike the bird. Clear away any breakable items or sharp objects. Make the area as safe as possible while preparing to capture the bird.

Contain the bird

Before attempting to catch the bird, try to gently guide it into an enclosed space. This could be a smaller room, hallway, or large closet. Close the door once the bird is contained in the area. This will make it much easier to capture by limiting its ability to fly freely around your home. You can also try herding the bird slowly by waving a bath towel or sheet towards it. Do not make any sudden movements or chase the bird, as this can cause further distress. Move calmly and deliberately to usher the bird into the desired space.

If the bird seems comfortable with perching up high, coax it onto a high bookshelf or top of a closet. You may be able to quietly close doors and isolate it there. For hard-to-reach areas, place cushions, mattresses, or blankets on the floor to pad any falls.

Protect yourself

Before attempting to catch the bird, protect your hands and arms. Wear thick gloves to avoid scratches or bites. Long sleeves and pants can also prevent injuries. Safety goggles are a good idea to shield your eyes in case the bird flaps violently. A hat or towel draped loosely over your head can also protect from clawing. Have someone assist you if possible for an extra set of hands.

Do not attempt to catch large, powerful birds like hawks, owls or geese without proper training or equipment. Get assistance from wildlife removal services or animal control if dealing with an aggressive or dangerous bird.

Choose your capture method

There are a few common techniques for capturing birds that accidentally enter your home:

  • Hand catch – Reaching up slowly to grab and contain the bird with gloved hands.
  • Throw blanket – Gently tossing a light blanket over the bird to wrap it up safely.
  • Net – Lowering a butterfly net or fishing net over the bird.
  • Towel – Throwing a bath towel over the bird to restrict its movement.
  • Box or paper bag – Coaxing the bird to voluntarily enter an open box or bag.

The best method depends on the type of bird, the space you are working in, and your own physical abilities. Use the least stressful capture strategy based on the situation. Avoid excessive chasing or reaching that could harm the bird. Remain calm and move with care when securing the bird.

Hold the bird securely

Once captured, hold the bird with firm but gentle control. Small birds can be held in one or both hands with restraint around the wings and body. Use thick gloves for larger birds to keep them from scratching. Grip larger birds like pigeons around the body with both hands, taking care to pin the wings down. Avoid excessive pressure and keep handling to a minimum.

If the bird is enclosed in a towel, box or bag, carefully move it while keeping it contained. Hold these items securely closed to prevent escape. Avoid suffocating the bird by providing some air flow if it is in an enclosed space for longer than a few minutes.

Use caution if the bird is aggressive, appears injured, or tries to bite or claw. Protect your face and eyes from flapping wings. Get assistance from another person if needed to safely restrain it.

Examine for injuries

Before releasing the bird, check it carefully for any sign of injury. Look for cuts, blood, or impaired mobility. Feel along the wings and body gently for broken bones. Watch for abnormal head movements or impaired vision which could indicate a head injury or concussion. If the bird is in distress but you can safely contain it, place it in a ventilated box in a warm, quiet, dark location. Call an avian vet or wildlife rehabilitator to assess its condition.

Injured wild birds will require specialized medical care. Do not attempt to treat any wounds or administer medication without training. Keep handling of injured birds minimal to avoid further stress.

Release the bird outdoors

For an uninjured bird that seems alert and active, release it outside immediately. Carry the bird while restrained to an exit door or large window. Face the opening outward and extend your arms while freeing the bird from the towel, gloves or bag. This allows the bird to fly directly out the opening. Avoid releasing near busy roads or potential predators. Set songbirds in bushes or trees, pigeons on rooftops or fences.

Disinfect any surfaces the bird touched or soiled in your home with rubbing alcohol or disinfectant spray. This includes countertops, floors, and furniture. Properly dispose of any towels, blankets or other items the bird was in direct contact with. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap after handling the bird.

Prevent re-entry

Check your home for any openings that allowed the bird to enter in the first place. Look for gaps around chimneys, vents, windows and doors. Cover larger gaps with hardware cloth or caulk. Repair torn window screens that could allow birds to fly inside. Keep doors and windows closed whenever possible, especially during spring and fall migration seasons when birds are more active.

Install decals on glass windows or doors that help deter bird collisions. Visual markings on the glass surface can prevent repeated strikes. Free-hanging wind chimes, reflective tape, or silhouettes of birds of prey can also dissuade birds from flying toward windows. Keep exterior bird feeders at least 3 feet away from your house.

When to call for help

In some cases, additional assistance may be needed to remove a bird from your home safely. Contact an expert if:

  • The bird is too high up or hard to reach.
  • The bird appears sick, injured, or dangerous to handle.
  • The bird seems too stressed or resistant to capture.
  • You do not have the right supplies or protective gear.
  • Multiple birds have entered the home.

Professional services can provide safe and humane bird removal using specialized equipment like nets, traps and lift equipment. They can also legally handle species protected under federal and state laws. Leaving removal to the experts reduces risks to both you and the bird.

Prevent home entry

The best way to handle birds indoors is to not let them inside in the first place! Here are some tips to bird-proof your home:

  • Install tight screens on all windows and doors.
  • Seal openings in the roof, eaves, and exterior walls.
  • Use deterrent devices like reflectors and wind chimes.
  • Choose interior window treatments that allow seeing outdoor obstacles.
  • Turn off indoor lights at night to avoid attracting birds.
  • Keep bird feeders at least 3-4 feet from the house.

Being proactive can minimize surprise bird encounters. But if one still finds its way inside, stay calm and use humane removal techniques. With some preparation and care, you can safely get grounded birds back to the great outdoors!


An accidental avian visitor can be startling, but in many cases you can humanely remove the bird yourself. Stay calm, prepare your space, protect yourself, and use gentle but secure restraint to capture the bird. Check for injuries, contain it properly, and release outdoors once stable. Prevent re-entry by securing your home’s openings and using deterrents. Call for professional assistance if needed, especially for larger, more dangerous birds. With some care and persistence, you can usher your uninvited guest back to the sky where it belongs.