While a bird flying around inside your home is an upsetting experience, be aware that the bird is most likely as frightened as you are. Birds can enter your basement as well as the main living areas of your home. Your feathered friends, especially starlings and sparrows, seek warmth from the cold outdoor temperatures. They may fly down an uncapped chimney and into your basement pursuing the heat generated by a hot water heater or furnace. Remain calm when dealing with a frightened bird in your home.
A Bird in Your Living Space
Usher pets from the room and shut all doors to confine the bird to one room. Close the curtains or blinds to all of the windows but one. This is the window you would like the bird to exit the house from. Open the window wide and remove the screen. Allow ample time for the bird to fly out of the window. If the bird remains in the house, hold up a large sheet and guide the bird to the window. Do not touch the bird as this may injure or further frighten it. Once the bird has flown out of the home, shut the window or door.
A Bird in the Basement
Light attracts birds, so create one outdoor light source for the bird to gravitate to. Cover all of the basement windows except one with a dark cloth or cardboard. If you have an outside basement door, cover all of the windows. Open the remaining door or unscreened window and wait for the bird to exit the basement. If the bird stays put, then try to usher it out the door or window by creating a moving wall. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to hold one end of a sheet tied to a pole or broom handle while you hold the other end. Slowly approach the bird so it will feel compelled to move toward the outdoor light. Do not make sudden movements that might frighten the bird.
Once the bird is outside the home, close the door or window. If the bird is still reluctant to leave, attempt to lure the bird out of your home with bird seed or bread and water. Position the food and water bowls between the bird and the outside exit. Turn off the lights and shine a flashlight on the resources you've laid out for the bird. When the bird seeks out the food and water, slowly move it closer to the outside exit until the bird flies out. Immediately close the door or window.
When to Call a Professional
If you are unable to get the bird out of your house or the bird appears injured or sick, it is time to call a professional. Look for a wildlife removal company or a licensed local wildlife rehabilitator. To find a rehabilitator in your area, call your county animal control office, a local veterinarian or your nearby humane society.
Prevent Another Mishap
Sealing openings into your home will prevent birds from getting inside. Install a chimney cap to prohibit birds from entering your home through the chimney. If this isn't possible, follow the chimney flue through the home and down into the basement. In older homes, the chimney flue may have been redirected and the open vent left without a cover. Install or replace an ill-fitting vent cover. Place screens on all windows and repair damaged siding. Seal off small openings with expandable foam or copper wire mesh.