Thursday, July 30, 2009

To catch a finch

I answered the phone around 10 last night.

"Do you know how to catch a finch?"

Betty is finch-sitting.

The neighbors, whose daughter has four finches, went on vacation for a week. And asked my mom if she could feed and water their finches.

I called the other day and there were all these funny little finch-noises in the background.

They are, according to her, adorable.

It turns out they're also fast. And if they get out of their cage?

Very uninterested in going back in.

Nick was all, "Uh oh, they've had a taste of freedom. They're not voluntarily heading back to the cage anytime soon.

So there are two in and two out. And last night the two out were having a great time hanging out on the kitchen blinds.

Fortunately, the kitchen has doors. So essentially, the entire kitchen is their cage.

However. This is not a tenable situation.

Nick's suggestion last night was to put some food on the floor, rig a laundry basked up over it, with some string tied to it. And then sit and wait for them to be enticed by the food.

So at the moment, Betty, who was up till 3 am with the finches, is sitting on the kitchen floor with them. They'll get a couple inches away. But they want nothing to do with the laundry basket - which is actually a very enticing, fine white mesh.

They're just sitting there, Betty and the finches. They keep peeping up at her. And then flapping out of reach when she heads for them.

I was wondering if she could maybe put out some peanut butter, and they'd get their little feet stuck in it?

Which would then take some explaining when the neighbors get home on Saturday.

Which is a long way away, with finches loose in the kitchen.

Any ideas?


  1. Totally comical. This made for a heck of a mental image. And then a search: how to catch a finch...

    good luck!

  2. An internet search said they like ripening fruit, so maybe if Betty found some overripe strawberries or something???

    Also, my parents have a suet cake (so gross) that the finches in their yard fight over.

    Or, you could just go hijack a Disney Princess and have her do her thing...

  3. Start scoping out identical finches at the local pet shop...

  4. My little sister used to have 2 finches that would forever escape their cage. We would entice them with water (they were uninterested in food but loved water. Weirdos.) I have vivid memories of us chasing the finches but no recollection whatsoever of what actually happened to those birds. My guess is that my dad finally got fed up with them and let them loose outside.

  5. Lisa,
    I have finches. I think if Betty leaves the door open to the cage and only has the water and food in there they will go back in. Yes, I know the others will go out first but I think they will all go back in if that is the only place to eat and drink. And birds like to flock so hopefully they will flock back in one at a time but mainly together. The cage is thier security. They will go back in. If not? get a net or wait for the little girl to arrive with a perfectly simple solution. I bet it's happened to them before.
    good Luck! My fingers are crossed.
    Lynn in ND

  6. i remember when my sister decided that she HAD TO HAVE a bird. she used her own money and bought a canary. it was nice enough, it sang it slept, pretty bird like all in all.
    and then there was the first time she cleaned the cage
    and left the little bird door open

    some fox or bigger bird got an exotic meal that week.

    i'm not helpful, i am okay with this. good luck to Betty!

  7. Awesome suggestions. I'll let you know what happens.

    Anonymous - Thank you for that. Of course there is something on finch-catching on the Internet! I didn't even think about that.

    Dagny - Just the word suet cake grosses me out. But overripe fruit could be a good enticement? I think there's a scarcity of Disney princesses in NoVA.

    Fearless - I thought about that. If they get out the back door, she's going to have to. She can't let them out of the kitchen.

    Hillary - I am glad to hear this happens regularly. And I could see my dad loosing the birds after too many escape episodes.

    Lynn - That makes sense, but she is scared to have the other birds out as well. But I think if she put food in the hamper, which is quite deep, maybe they will feel safe in there. And from there maybe she could get them into the cage. Otherwise, yah, the little girl has to help with this.

    notsojenny - Oh, no! Hopefully it just got away and enjoyed its freedom in the woods or something.

  8. These were really funny comments :) I think Cinderella would be the best Disney princess for the job - I'm envisioning the scene where the birds and mice make her ball gown?

    Good luck!

  9. HKW - Cinderella would be ideal. Or Snow White - didn't the birds love her too? I can't remember.

    Susan - I just talked to Betty, who is about to nap and then return to the Bird Project. Interesting you said that - whe did say the birds have messed up the previously tidy kitchen and she is about ready to just vacuum them up with the mess.

  10. series of events; offer to help, unanticipated difficulties, life wildly disrupted, vow to never volunteer again, break vow, on it goes. this is family, this is friendship. thanx for the view of your life. i have just started my new blog life. maybe view it at if you like.

  11. I used to work in a wildlife rehab center that was full of songbirds. We used a *very* fine-mesh net (like a butterfly net) to catch any runaways. Very effective, just be very gentle taking them out of the mesh.

    Plus, then you have a butterfly net! Which, of course, you've got tons of need for, right? I'm sure it is gentle enough for babies...

  12. My first thought was that finches were some kind of monkey, so I'm probably not the best to help you catch one. Or four.

  13. prettylittletangents7/30/2009 4:15 PM

    This post cracks me up! And reminds me of when my sister had a finch. We would veer it towards the bathroom (or other small room) and then once it was in there, bring the cage in and catch it (much easier in a small confined space). Good luck to Betty!

  14. scott - Thanks for visiting! New blog is always fun!

    bbElf - She still hasn't caught them, although I think she's been avoiding the kitchen - but she may have to do that.

    And you make a good point - gentle enough for butterflies must be gentle enough for babies!

    freckledk - Monkeys, in my experience, are so MEAN. I would never let Betty monkey-sit.

    prettylittletangents - Thanks. :) And you are adding to my vision that ever finch-haver ever has dealt with escaped finches!

  15. Betty could try looking up a local breeder and giving them a call. They might even offer to come and assist in the recapture and containment of said Finches.


Tell me about it.