There are an amazing number of things in the average house that hurt or kill
your bird. It is better to be aware of them BEFORE trouble occurs. Houseplants
can be poisonous-as a general rule, do not allow your bird access to any plant.
Even safe plants might have been treated with bug spray that you do not know
about-spray residue can kill birds too! Beware of windows.
Open windows are an invitation for your bird to escape (yes, even tame birds
will fly the coop if given the chance!), and sliding windows can fall and injure
or kill birds sitting on the sill beneath them. Birds that can fly (or think
they can fly) will sometimes get confused and try to fly through glass. If your
bird can become airborne, keep the drapes shut while it is flying (and clip its
wings as soon as possible!) Keep toilet lids closed-many birds have slipped in
while trying to get a drink or a closer look at their reflection, and have
drowned this way.
It is best to keep your bird out of the kitchen if anything is cooking. Do
not permanently locate the cage in the kitchen. Cooking fumes can suffocate
birds (their respiratory systems are much more sensitive than ours and absorb
airborne impurities very easily).
Especially avoid using non-stick cookware such as Teflon or Silverstone. When
heated to 530 degrees, which can occur when someone forgets a pan on the stove a
bit too long, it releases toxic fumes which will kill all the birds in the house
in 10 minutes or less. There is no antidote. Teflon non-stick burner drip pans
reach 530 degrees every time they are used. It is better to not own non-stick
pans at all than take this risk! Non-stick irons, Teflon curling irons,
potpourri pots and other non-stick appliances are also very dangerous.
Beware the common household cleaner! Anything that comes in a spray can is
potentially toxic to birds. The propellants are dangerous, and the fine mist
that results is too easily absorbed into sensitive bird lungs. Paint, paint
thinner, varnish, bleach, glue, perfume, wood smoke, ammonia, hair spray,
deodorant, room freshener, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, kerosene heater fumes,
nail polish-these have all proven harmful to birds!
This is not by any means a complete list of harmful substances. A general
rule is: anything that has a fragrance (pleasant or not), or comes in a
spray-propelled form (even pump-type bottles), could hurt your bird. Read all
labels for safety precautions before opening any cans or bottles. If you must
use potentially harmful items, USE THEM OUTSIDE! If you are doing chores with
your bird, be sure the chores are safe for it!
Don't ever allow your new baby to run around on the floor. It is much too
easy for someone to enter the room and accidentally step on or kick the bird.
Broken bones in birds are very difficult to fix. A safe place for your bird to
play is on a large surface like a bed or table.
Try not to overstress your bird too much by having crowds over to see it
right away. Allow it to settle in and get used to YOU before showing it off to
all your friends. Most handfed birds love people, but several people reaching
for it at once will confuse and possibly frighten it. If you are having a party,
it might be best to put the bird in a room that won't be used, give it a treat,
and let it stay there alone till the party is over. Then take it out and play
with it, after everyone is gone. I cannot emphasize this too often-keep your
bird out of the reach of small children unless Very Closely Supervised! Kids
don't know their own strength, and can easily squish your bird in a show of
affection or jealousy! Even a 1 year old has enough strength in his/her hands to
crush a bird's bones! A bird in pain will be provoked to bite, and could hurt
the child. Don't ever leave children and your bird alone together, even for a
minute. If you must leave the room, either lock up the bird or take it with you.
Birds and Pets
(Note: This photo was posed under close supervision -- don't try this at
Other pets must also be watched closely-the friendliest dog or cat can become
awfully jealous of the feathered newcomer. Dog and cat saliva carries toxic
bacteria which will kill a bird in twelve hours or less if an antitoxin is not
injected immediately. One scratch or bite will be fatal! Do not ever allow your
bird out of its cage if another animal is loose in the room, and be sure the
other animals cannot reach the bird while it is in its cage!