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Parrot Safety First!

We try to keep abreast of information regarding the health and safety of our birds. We hear of safety issues from people who are anxious to share their stories of mischievous parrots. Unfortunately, we also hear many tragic stories. We will share them, too, and hope we can save other birds from the same fate.


Aerosols are bad news for birds, just like cigarette smoke and the fumes from nail polish remover and hair coloring products. Air fresheners don’t “freshen” so much as they coat nasal passages with a film or block the olfactory nerve. Air fresheners that you plug in can make children sick and affect animals other than birds. So can the pine-scented air fresheners people often put in cars.

Nonstick surfaces

Nonstick pans give off harmful fumes when hot—not just overheated—and particles from nonstick plastic coating flake off into food as the coating is worn down.

Easy-care, no-iron, permanent press

Easy care, no-iron, and permanent press fabrics contain a formaldehyde finish that doesn’t wash out. Formaldehyde is a powerful irritant.

Fabric protectors

Stainsafe, a fabric protector often used on furniture, emits toxic fumes that kill birds.

Bleach, bleach-based cleansers

Our pet birds are dependent on us to ensure they are kept safe from harm in our homes. Just like little children, our bird’s curiosity can help them find very creative ways to find trouble if they are left unsupervised. Most household related deaths are the result of either exposure to a toxic substance or due to a physical trauma.

There are many household items that are toxic or potentially toxic to birds if they breathe in the fumes:

  • Household cleaners (kitchen, bathroom, furniture polish, fabric protectors)
  • Teflon fumes (non-stick cookware, irons, self-cleaning ovens, etc.)
  • Aerosols (cleaners, hairspray, deodorant, perfumes, etc.)
  • Insecticides (bug bombs)
  • Paint Fumes
  • Tobacco Smoke
  • Smoke from poorly ventilated wood stoves and fireplaces.
  • Mothballs
  • Garden chemicals (fertilizers, insecticides)
  • New carpet fumes
  • Scented candles, Incense, Potpourri Air Fresheners (aerosol & plug-in)
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Adhesives

There are also many household items and foods that are toxic if swallowed by your bird:

  • Foods include:
    • Avocado
    • Chocolate
    • Alcohol
    • Caffeine
    • Dried beans
    • Fruits pits and seeds
    • Tomato leaves, vines and stems
  • Toxic house plants
  • Metal items containing lead or zinc
  • Human medicines
  • Pesticides on unwashed fruits and vegetables

Many birds have also suffered fatal or serious physical injuries when left unsupervised by:

  • Drowning in an open toilet, sink or fish tank.
  • Flying into window, mirror or moving ceiling fan.
  • Suffering heat exposure in a car.
  • Getting burned from a stove, boiling water, wood stove or fireplace
  • Other animals or small children – knocking over cage, playing rough, scratches, bites
  • Suffocation in bed by owner
  • Crushing injuries by being stepped on
  • Strangling in unkempt rope toy
  • Escape through open window or door
  • Killed by hawk or other