Nets may be required in some situations, especially in free-flight enclosures that need to be evacuated. Pre-planning expertise on the use of nets is essential; even with expert use, net injuries are common and often fatal. The basic technique is to use a large-diameter, padded-rim net with soft, fine mesh or fabric, and place it in the “flight path”. Nets are not tennis racquets to swing at birds; the birds easily evade them or be killed on impact. No force should be exerted toward the bird at all. The easiest way to practice is with nets and stuffed animals or balls thrown by a team member. Impact with the rim causes the handler to lose a turn! Points are awarded for non-impact captures. Again, accidents are common and the capture team needs to be ready with first aid.
Large-mesh fishing nets or capture nets for mammals are not appropriate. Large mesh, nylon or kelvar, is dangerous as it easily entangles limbs, head and tail, causing panic and great injury. Parrots can bite though the strands easily and escape, and they can easily reach through the netting and bite the rescuer. If the netting is replaced by soft, fine-mesh fabric and the hoop is padded, they can be useful.
Specialty nets such as throw-nets, or scoop nets for poultry, long-handled telescoping nets for raptors, can be used. Fishing nets or mammal capture nets should be avoided or the netting replaced with bird-friendly fabric. Netting skill can only be learned by practice and in real-life situations. Inexperienced team members should not be assigned net-capture unless there is absolutely no other choice; and even then, a quick cautionary lesson is in order.
Sometimes a rescuer will need to crawl into a hole and reach for a bird deep inside. Medium aquarium nets can work for this attempt, and their “hoop” can easily be bent to facilitate the crevice. They preclude the use of gloved hands. Often the bird will bite the net and can be extracted just with this “fishing” technique.
Nets are dispensable. There is no net that can withstand parrot-chewing. Replacement nets should be kept in the disaster kit to fit each kind of frame or handle. Soft-mesh nets are not designed for restraint, and often sustain damage. They should be replaced as needed--when holes bigger than a head or there are loose threads which create a risk of entanglement
All capture equipment, including nets, must be washed and disinfected between use. Diseases are OFTEN spread by contaminated capture gear!