Microchipping Parrots

About Microchipping Parrots

Thousands of pet parrots fly off and become lost each year.  Bird theft is also a common problem in both the U.S. and the UK.  While it is possible to recover a lost bird,it’s a very stressful event for both the bird and you. 

It is important that your parrot have identification at all times. But when it is so hard to differentiate one bird from its entire species what can you do? Leg bands are important, but they can be cut off and they wear down with time. Technology has made it possible to safely equip your parrot with a microchip for permanent identification.

How Microchipping Works

About the size of a grain of rice, a microchip consists of a tiny computer chip housed in a special type of glass that is compatible with living tissue. The microchip is implanted in the bird’s chest, under the skin, with a needle and special syringe.  The procedure is fast, similar to getting a shot. Since little to no pain is experienced, most birds are more traumatized by being held down for the 30 second procedure than they are by the actual implantation. Once in place, the microchip radio waves can immediately be detected with a handheld device. Most veterinarian offices and animal control agencies have universal scanners that are capable of displaying the unique alphanumeric code of the microchip. Register your microchipped parrot with the microchip company.  Usually there is a one-time fee for the service. 

Things You Should Know

  • Microchips are designed to last for the life of a parrot. They do not need to be charged or replaced.
  • While some microchips have been known to migrate from the chest area, the instructions for scanning emphasize the need to scan the bird's entire body.
  • A microchipped parrot can be easily identified by a shelter or veterinarian who is in possession of a scanner. While some shelters or veterinary offices do not have scanning equipment, microchipping is quickly becoming a preferred method of animal identification
  • Universal scanners may not be able to detect some older or off brand microchips, but microchip manufacturers, veterinarians and animal shelters have been working on solutions to the imperfections, and technology continues to improve over time.

Even if you clip your bird’s wings, a startled bird can get enough of an adrenaline rush to fly off.  No method of parrot identification is perfect so the best thing you can do to protect your pet bird is to develop safe routines and procedures that all family members follow. Keep leg bands on your pet bird if it has one. Make sure your bird is caged if you have open windows or doors.  A startled bird will fly toward the light of an open window or door. Never leave your bird outside unattended. Consider harness training your pet bird so it can be safely contained when it is outdoors.   A skilled trainer can also train their parrot to “recall” in free flight. 

If your parrot does become lost or stolen, microchip identification can increase the odds of recovering your pet.


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