Top 10 Household Dangers to Pet Birds

  1. Poisoning: Birds are susceptible to a wide range of toxins which can injure or kill them either by ingestion or inhalation. One of the most common toxicities in pet birds is insecticides sprayed in the home. Others include ammonia, bleach, oven cleaner, glues, nail polish remover, paint, perfumes, heavy metals (i.e., lead and zinc). Poisonous plants are also a danger.
  2. Non Stick Coatings: This technically falls under poisoning but warrants a special mention because use of these products is very common. When overheated, the non-stick coating emits fumes that are very toxic and will kill birds. This coating is found on non-stick cookware but also waffle irons, bread machines, irons, ironing board covers, curling irons, space heaters, blow dryers and more.
  3. Open Water: Toilets are the most common source of open water in the house, and it is all too easy for your pet bird to fall in and drown. Other water sources to watch for are sinks, bathtubs, buckets and water bowls of dogs/cats. The kitchen can also be a dangerous place if there are hot pots of water on the stove.
  4. Inappropriate Foods: These range from those that are just unhealthy to those that might kill pet birds. Anything high in sugar or salt is inappropriate, as are fatty foods. More serious are things such as chocolate, which is toxic to many pets. Caffeinated or alcoholic beverages are also dangerous. Avocado should also be avoided.
  5. Electrical Cords: Birds explore with their beaks, and exposed electrical cords pose a danger if bitten. Keep cords and appliances away from the bird cage, and conceal cords as much as possible. Covering exposed cords with corrugated plastic tubing (available at hardware stores) may help reduce the danger.
  6. Poorly Made Toys: Even toys designed for parrots may not be safe for them. Make sure your parrots (especially larger ones) are not able to break off or remove any parts and swallow them. Rope toys can also be dangerous if they are long enough to get tangled up in, and there have been cases of parrots separating the strands on braided ropes, inserting their heads, and strangling as a result.
  7. Ceiling Fans: Ceiling fans are a real danger to flighted birds – serious injuries and death has occurred when birds fly into them. Birds tend to be nervous with things moving above them, so may be stressed out by a ceiling fan running near their cage.
  8. Windows, Doors and Mirrors: Windows and mirrors pose a danger to birds that might fly into them. Even birds with clipped wings can fly into a window, door or mirror. Of course, open windows and doors are a means for escape. Interior doors can be risky if the bird likes to sit on the top of an open door – the bird could be injured or killed if the door is closed.
  9. Other Pets: While birds often live happily with other household pets, owners should always be careful when other pets are near the birds. The motion of birds can set off the prey instinct of cats or dogs, and an infected bite or scratch can quickly be fatal to a bird.
  10. Air Quality: Birds are especially sensitive to contaminants in the air. Aerosol products of any kind should not be used around your bird. Cigarette smoking has been implicated in respiratory disease in pet birds. Carbon monoxide is also dangerous, so use a carbon monoxide detector in your home, and be careful not to run your car in an attached garage.