Individuals attempting to capture or restrain wild psittacines should have some basic training to prevent sustaining injury to themselves and causing injury to the birds. Parrots can cause grievous harm that could require medical attention or have long lasting health effects. Even small wounds from a bite, or toenails, or hazards in the surroundings, or exposure to contamination from the bird could lead to severe infections. Rescuers must protect themselves with training and preparedness.
While psittacines are very strong for their size and can inflict severe wounds, paradoxically they can be injured very easily during capture and restraint. Proper handling calms the bird, gives the rescuer confidence, and helps diminish the stress levels of everyone. for example, grabbing a parrot by its legs or wings most often causes the bird to struggle, which can result in multiple fractures of both the bird’s legs bones, causing the bird pain, and usually, secondary human injury. restraining a parrot around its body can suffocate it, and the parrot will struggle violently against potential suffocation (causing an increasingly dire situation). knowing how to “grab and go” the proper way will safely prevent pain, suffering, and potential mortality. See also How to Remove a Beak fom Flesh.
The goal of proper restraint is to prevent injury to all parties and to calm the bird. Proper restraint will relax the bird and diminish defensive responses. The chest should never be restricted in any way--suffocation, struggle and death are the consequences. The head and beak are the primary targets for restraint, with feet and wings next; in reality all must be restrained simultaneously and immediately for proper and safe control. Towels are the best mode of capture and restraint. They provide tactile awareness of the anatomy of the bird and the amount of pressure the handler is exerting. The best technique leaves the head and face unimpaired, with the neck extended slightly and feet and wings secure in the towel as in a “taco”. Holding the head and face directly will induce panic and struggle. Hiding the eyes may help or may induce panic, depending on the bird’s personality. In general, allowing them visual access is the best course.
NO GLOVES! They do not protect the rescuer and can injure the bird.
Leather gloves should never be used as they do not protect against bite injury, and impair perception of pressure, location and anatomy which can LEAD TO INJURY OR DEATH.
Large to Medium Parrots
Towel Technique (preferred):control head and neck, feet and wings. DO NOT restrict the chest! This technique protects the feathers and secures the bird in a much more safe manner than bare-handed.
Bare-handed: control head and neck, feet and wings. DO NOT restrict the chest
In extreme situations and with skilled and experienced handlers, a “bare-handed” capture and restraint is possible; but the risks of injury to both parties is high. This method should be attempted only if all other options are not possible, or unless the bird is so severely debilitated as to not represent a threat to the handler or itself. Bare-handed restraint: notice the chest is not restricted in any way. Birds have a bony trachea, therefore proper restraint around the neck will not obstruct breathing.
Small and Tiny Psittacines
Control the head, neck, wings tail and feet. DO NOT CONSTRICT THE CHEST!
The "OK-sign" around the neck at the base of the jaw, or the "bird-bander-two-finger" techniques are both safe.