Setting Up A Macaw's Cage For Theft Protection

Keeping Macaw Cages Secure: Exotic Bird Theft Prevention Tips

Thieves Will Search For Easy Targets, How Not To Be One Of Them

Anyone wanting to own an exotic bird, such as a Macaw, should at least be aware of the potential for bird theft.  Many people are drawn to the beauty and intelligence of these birds and are willing to pay large sums of money for them.  Unfortunately, the demand for birds of this caliber also fuels a black market that puts many birds at risk.  Bird theft negatively affects both owners and their birds since the stolen birds are often mistreated or neglected by their captors.  Some owners will purchase state-of-the-art Macaw cages to help guard against this risk.  But even the best Macaw cages can't guarantee protection.  However, bird owners can take some measures to make them less vulnerable to theft or, in the case of theft, more prepared for swift recoveries.

Exotic Bird Black Market

The primary cause of exotic bird theft is a thriving multi-billion dollar black market business.  Some parrots taken from their Macaw cages or outdoor aviaries are sold on the black market for tens of thousands of dollars.  From April to June of 2012, more than 8,700 birds and other exotic animals were seized during Operation Cage, a global initiative to crackdown on illegal animal trade between Latin America and Europe.  In the United States as well as many other countries, it is only legal to buy birds bred and raised in captivity.  Savvy bird owners will take measures to protect their Macaw cages and supervise any time outside of these cages.   

How to Keep Birds Secure Both Inside and Outside of Macaw Cages

Bird thefts have occurred at all hours of the day and night.  In some cases, Macaw cages have been broken into and the birds removed.  In other instances, entire Macaw cages have been stolen from homes or removed from outdoor structures through holes cut in fences.  But exotic bird owners aren't completely helpless against bird theft.  There are several guidelines they can follow to reduce their likelihood of becoming a victim to this crime.

  • Keep the Macaw cages lit.  Keeping an entire home or areas around Macaw cages lit will make thefts trickier.  Owners don't want their Macaw cages to look like spotlights in the dark, but light around and within a house will make it difficult for thieves to find places to hide.  Motion sensors that trigger lights in yards can aid this effort by surprising thieves.
  • Consider the placement of the Macaw cages.  Some owners keep their Macaw cages near windows because they think their birds will enjoy the view outside.  But this also offers a clear view for strangers and can increase the chances that the birds will be targeted.
  • Use discretion when talking about your birds.  Just as owners should be careful about placing their Macaw cages so as not to advertise their bird ownership, they should also exercise caution when discussing their birds with others, particularly those they do not know well.  “Bragging” about the birds in front of acquaintances can lead to unwanted interest from potential thieves.  It is best that only a small circle of people is aware of the bird's residence.  Bird owners should also avoid advertising their birds via parrot bumper stickers, mailboxes, flags, etc.
  • Consider additional home security measures.  Alarm systems offer extra protection when owners are away from their homes.  Even additional door or window locks are helpful.  Security measures may be important for people who live in condominiums or apartment buildings where nearby strangers may hear the noises made by birds and begin to target them.
  • Consider additional security around Macaw cages.  Ideally, Macaw cages should be difficult to break into or steal from a home.  This means locking all Macaw cages.  Some owners have even bolted their Macaw cages to the floor so that thieves wouldn't be able to walk off with them.
  • Don't depend on the dog.  Dogs have been proven to be ineffective when used as sole security measures (unless they are highly-trained security dogs).  They can be poisoned, shot, drugged or distracted.  However, dogs can be effective security assets when used in combination with other protections.

What to Do if a Theft Occurs

But even prepared bird owners' Macaw cages can't be guaranteed protection from thieves.  Not only should owners follow security guidelines to minimize the risk of theft, but they should also have a recovery plan in case a theft occurs to increase their likelihood of having their birds returned.

  • Have plenty of pictures taken of your bird from all angles, including any unique markings.
  • Microchip your bird and keep records of all identification information, although be aware that there is some debate about the safety and effectiveness of this for birds.
  • Put your community on high alert.  File a police report, post flyers, post messages in online forums, and talk to veterinarians and pet shop owners.
  • Act quickly.  Stolen birds are often denied access to proper treatment and nutrition, thus it is imperative that the search begins immediately.

Although the risk of exotic bird theft may scare owners, they can take comfort in knowing they are implementing as many security measures as they can.  Thieves will search for easy targets, and owners who are serious about security will reduce their chances for tragedy.

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macaw cages can be secured from bird theft
Macaws and other exotic birds are highly esteemed in the pet-owning community for their intelligence and beauty. These birds can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, making them a desired high-end commodity for skilled thieves. Vigilant owners will research and implement proper security measures to protect their Macaw cages and minimize their risks.

Nina Playtop

Even beefing up locks on bird cages themselves can help deter theft. For instance this simple latch can be supplanted with a cable type lock found on bicycles if the owner is not around during the day. Having larger cages that are harder to remove from the home can also help protect a bird from theft.

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