*FOODS that endanger parrots include avocado, including guacamole, chocolate or cocoa, alcohol, caffeine, the pits of apricots, peaches, plums, prunes, and seeds of the cherimoya fruit, as well as foodscontaining large amounts of salt, sugar, grease, preservatives, artificial coloring, and other additives. Obvious dangers such as moldy foods, under-cooked meat, or raw meat should be
avoided. Parrot foods should be the same quality as human infant foods.
*METALS such as lead, zinc, copper, and iron cause metal toxicosis if ingested by birds. Some sources are galvanized cages and aviary wire, house keys, (especially gold colored keys), lead-based paints, metallic paints, paints containing zinc, linoleum, vinyl mini-blinds, foil from champagne and wine bottles, lead weights, bells with lead clappers, stained glass, some improperly-glazed ceramics, costume jewelry, mirror backing, copper pennies, zinc oxide, artist paints containing cadmium, cardboard or paper with high gloss inks, and magnetic business cards.
*NUTS in the shell, such as English walnuts, should be offered with caution. To minimize risk, do not offer whole hard-shell nuts when
birds are extremely hungry, nor without supervision. Concealed nuts in the shell such as the "sock toy" can cause impaction.
*LITTER composed of walnut shells or corn cobs can cause life-threatening impaction if ingested by birds. It also harbors fungal spores when soiled or wet. Newspaper is a safer litter material.
*WOOD SHAVINGS like cedar and redwood are toxic to birds and should not be used in cages, aviaries, or nestboxes. Pine or aspen shavings are safer for nestbox substrate.
*KITCHENS are a danger to birds, especially when cooking is in progress. The obvious hazards of open flames, hot ranges, open pots
of hot food or boiling water are as deadly as smoke or other toxic fumes (even from dishwashers if a plastic item falls into a heating
element during the drying cycle).
*PTFE treated products such as Teflon and other name brands of non-stick cookware kill birds by releasing deadly, odorless gases
when overheated. PTFE is used in some space heaters, ranges, ovens, stove-top burner bibs or liners, heat lamps, irons, griddles, bread
makers, woks, waffle makers, electric skillets, crock pots, corn poppers, coffee makers, roasters, curling irons, hair dryers, and
more. Check labels before purchase.
*SELF-CLEANING OVENS use extremely high heat to burn off oven debris. During that process, toxic fumes that kill parrots within minutes are emitted.
*COOKING BAGS, especially those treated with PTFE, emit harmful fumes when heated. Any substance that releases smoke and/or fumes when heated should be avoided in homes with birds. It can be fatal.
*CAGES should be made of safe metal with non-toxic paint, no sharp points that can cause injuries, proper spacing between cage bars to prevent strangulation, and no empty cup holders. Birds have been injured or killed by getting stuck in empty cup holders in cages. Use empty dishes or fill them with toys or treats, but never leave empty cup holders in a cage. Stainless steel is the safest metal.
*LEG BANDS can cause the loss of birds' toes, feet, legs and sometimes, lives are lost. Microchips are a safer way to identify lost birds. Leg bands should be removed only by a veterinarian.
*GRIT is unnecessary for parrots and can cause impaction of the avian digestive system.
*HALOGEN LIGHT FIXTURES such as torchier-style floor lamps create extreme heat and can kill birds that land on them. Choose only
bird-safe light fixtures for bird homes.
*QUIK-STOP and other styptic products should never be applied to avian skin. Styptic products are safe for bleeding toenails when
broken or cut too short, but they destroy skin. For broken or pulled blood feathers, cornstarch or flour are safer. Aloe gel can be applied first to help the flour or cornstarch to adhere to the wound and to help with pain and healing.
*CATS, DOGS, FERRETS (and many other pets) are a danger to birds. The slightest cat scratch can infect birds with Pasteurella bacteria and immediate vet treatment is required to save the bird's life. Neverallow birds to interact with ANY pet without close supervision.
*PESTICIDE SPRAYS, NO-PEST STRIPS, and FOGGERS poison the air and can kill birds. Safer solutions are roach traps, ant bait, and other solid insect poisons that can be safely secured in the back of cabinets and other areas that are inaccessible to birds.
*FLEA COLLARS and SPRAYS emit toxins and should not be used in bi d homes. The metal discs sold in pet stores to attach to cages for killing lice also poison the environment -- do NOT use them! Shampoos for lice contain dangerous toxins that never should
be used on birds.
*STICKY PEST STRIPS for flying insects should always be enclosed in old cages or other containers accessible to insects but out of the reach of birds and other pets. Citrus oil or peanut butter can be used to safely remove sticky substances from feathers.
*WING CLIPS should be checked on the first day of each month to prevent flight-related accidents. Wing-clipped birds can often fly
well enough to escape so they should be protected by a harness, leash, or carrier when taken outside.
*TRANSPARENT AND REFLECTIVE SURFACES like glass windows doors, and mirrors should be shown to flighted birds. Many birds can be trained to avoid large expanses of glass by repeatedly holding the bird on your hand and imitating flight toward the glass and then lightly pressing their beak, feet, and body against the surfaces. Decals can be used as a visible reminder.
*CEILING FANS should not be used in homes with flighted birds. Other household dangers to flighted birds are open windows and doors, hot pots and stove burners, open containers of water (sinks, toilets, tubs, boiling water), poisonous or thorny houseplants, electrical wires, medication, insect bait traps, and many other toxic substances.
*TOYS, both new and used, should be cleaned and examined for loose parts that could lodge in a bird's throat. Loose strings and threads can trap and cut off circulation to necks, wings, legs, and toes. Use only stainless steel (not zinc) "quick links" as toy fasteners and never use strings, chains or ropes long enough to wrap around a birds' neck or other body parts.
*PRESSURE TREATED LUMBER, conventional plywood, and particle board contain a variety of toxic substances. Untreated pine boards are a safer choice.
*HOUSEPLANTS and FERTILIZER including "fertilizer spikes" can poison birds so they should be kept out of their reach. Some of the most common poisonous houseplants are azalea, oleander, castor bean, sago palm, yew plants, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), asparagus fern, daffodils, flower bulbs, mistletoe, poinsettia, philodendron, and potato sprouts or "eyes". Choose only non-poisonous plants for bird homes.
*CIGARETTES, CIGARS, PIPES, AND OTHER SMOKING SUBSTANCES should never be used in air space shared by birds. Passive
inhalation of smoke, including smoke from burning incense, damages the sensitive avian respiratory system, eyes and skin. Nicotine can
settle on perches and other cage surfaces and cause the self-mutilation of feet and legs in sensitive birds, especially Amazon parrots.
*ESSENTIAL OILS and potpourri oils should never be used in the breathing space of parrots. Perfume, hairspray, and other aerosolized
grooming products also can damage the avian respiratory system.
*AIR FRESHENERS which includes plug-ins and scented sprays are considered unsafe. Bird deaths from using. To safely freshen the air, simmer spices like cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and citrus rinds.
*SCENTED CANDLES release toxins when burned, so only unscented candles should be used in bird homes. (Protect birds from the open flame). Beeswax candles are generally safe and unscented unless they are imported and contain lead wicks (which are illegal and rarely used.)
*CARPET POWDERS AND SPRAYS such as Carpet Fresh, as well as similar treatments for upholstery such as Febreze, often contain toxins which are dispersed into the air when they are vacuumed so they should not be used in bird homes. Carpets can be cleaned safely with solutions of water and baking soda, vinegar, or Grapefruit Seed Extract.
*CLEANING AND DISINFECTING PRODUCTS like pine oil, ammonia, mold and mildew cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, drain cleaners, furniture polish, oven cleaners, dishwasher detergents, furniture polish, car cleaning products, and laundry products, including bleach, can irritate or burn the skin, eyes and respiratory tract of birds when used in their air space. Spray starch is also toxic to birds.
*HOME IMPROVEMENT PRODUCTS that create fumes include fresh paint, new carpet, drapes, furniture and flooring that uses toxic glues. The outgassing of toxic chemicals from new furnishings, paints, solvents, adhesives, various finishes, and other building materials are sometimes described as the "new smell" and can damage the sensitive avian respiratory system.
*MEDICATION and natural remedies containing tea tree oil, which contains the oil of the melaleuca tree, as well as all over-the-counter medications should be kept out of the reach of parrots.
*MOLD on food or in the air is dangerous to parrots. Aspergillus mold can cause the deadly disease, aspergillosis. It can grow on
improperly handled and stored foods, especially grains such as corn. Excessive moisture in bathrooms promotes the growth of various molds in homes.
*CARBON MONOXIDE is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas produced by furnaces and other heaters. Birds in poorly ventilated, heated areas are at high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It robs the blood of oxygen and can be particularly harmful to animals and humans with heart ailments when inhaled at levels often found indoors.
*MOTHBALLS and moth-repellent cakes and crystals contain paradichlorobenzene, which also is found in toilet disinfectants and
in deodorizers, and it causes cancer in lab animals.
*DRY CLEANED CLOTHING should be aired outside or in an airspace not shared by birds until there is no remaining odor. The chemical "perc" (perchloroethylene) causes cancer in lab animals.
*HUMAN SALIVA contains pathogens that are deadly to birds. Never allow a bird to place its beak in your nose or mouth. Do not allow
them to "clean your teeth".
*CLEANLINESS is important to the prevention of bacterial infections. Wash your hands frequently when working with birds and preparing
their food and dishes.
*DISEASE EXPOSURE should be avoided by quarantining all new birds from your existing flock or companion birds for one to three months. Taking birds to pet stores, bird fairs, swap shops and other bird gatherings with birds can expose them to deadly diseases. It is safer to have a friend or relative come into your home or keep your birds in their home when you must be away from home for extended periods..