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March 2024

A Very Disturbing Story

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
posted by Jim Murphy

I heard a very disturbing story yesterday and it begs the question are products really tested properly. A lady who owned two beautiful Macaw Parrots for many years found both of her birds dead. This was both devastating and puzzling since these birds can live to over 70 years old and weren’t sick. After careful investigation, it was found that her self cleaning oven which she had on, killed the birds. There have been many reports that the fumes from self cleaning oven can be dangerous to birds, cats and dogs as well. Aerosol oven cleaners, disinfectants and other cleaning products can also be dangerous to pets.

I had an self cleaning oven and tried to use it once. The fumes were terrible so I turned it off and never used it again. put together a comprehensive list of things that are dangerous to pet birds. Be careful when using cleaners and other dangerous items around your pets. Here’s the list by It includes all items specifically dangerous to birds.

1) Poisoning
A bird’s health is endangered by a wide variety of toxic substances that are commonly found in the home. Parrots can be poisoned through ingestion (eating) or inhalation (breathing them in). One of the most common poisons for pet birds are insecticides or pesticides. Don’t use chemicals around your bird. Control Insecticide is safe for use around birds.

Other poisons include ammonia, bleach, many glues, nail polish remover, oven cleaner, paint, perfumed candles, and heavy metals (e.g. lead and zinc). Poisonous plants are also dangerous, especially holiday plants. Learn about safe plants for your aviary here.

2) Non Stick Coatings (when overheated)
Nonstick coatings demand special mention because so many household products contain this fatal product. When overheated, non stick coatings emit several extremely toxic fumes that will kill birds in minutes.

Birds are particularly susceptible to teflon toxicity due to their hyper-efficient respiratory system. Teflon is found on non stick cookware, waffle irons, and bread machines. It is on irons, ironing board covers, curling irons, space heaters, blow dryers, self cleaning ovens and other appliances. NEVER boil water on the stove top to add humidity to the air.  It is way to easy to forget about it and kill your bird.

3) Open Water
Toilets are the most common source of open water in your home. A lot of us put our pet bird on a shower perch in the morning for a quick bird bath and quality time.  Don’t forget to put the toilet lid down! Other water dangers to watch for are sinks, bathtubs, buckets, and your dog or cat water bowls. Hot pots of water on the stove are a frequent cause of death in pet birds.

4) Unhealthy Foods
Unhealthy foods might kill a bird.  Birds can’t digest foods that are high in sugar or salt so they end up with Fatty Liver Disease. Some foods are imminently dangerous, meaning they will quickly result in death. Avoid avocados, chocolate, caffeine and alcoholic beverages.  Read this article to learn about the foods that are deadly for birds.

5) Electrical Cords
Birds explore with their beaks and for some reason, they enjoy electrical cords or exploring uncovered outlets. Electrical burns are extremely critical and frequently deadly.   Nasty, painful throat burns take months to heal- IF your bird survives. Please conceal electrical cords as much as possible or if possible, hide them in ordinary PVC pipe. Cover all outlets with child safety devices.  If you use an electrical bird heater or bird light, insure that the cord is safely concealed.  Again, common PVC plumbing pipe will do the trick.

6) Bird Toys
Make sure your parrot is not able to break off or remove any toy parts that it can choke on. Strong beaks can break some plastics into small parts that may be swallowed causing choking or digestive blockage.  We hear about small toy parts getting stuck in the beak, too.  Stick with very reputable bird toy manufacturers like Super Bird Creations, Planet Pleasures and several others found on this website.

Always provide your bird with the correct sized toy for its species. If you think you can save money by purchasing a smaller version of a cool bird toy, think again.  No one wants to come home to a bird that has choked or injured itself on an inappropriately sized bird toy.

Rope toys should be examined at least weekly because birds love to pick and preen the string. String or rope bird toys are dangerous if they have frays that are long enough to tangle around toes or your birds neck.

7) Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans pose a serious danger when unclipped birds fly into them. Being animals of prey, birds are inclined to feel a little anxious about moving objects above them and many birds find a ceiling fan to be stressful. Afterall, hawks fly over wild birds in the hunt. Make sure that your pet bird is well supervised when your ceiling fan is on.

8) Windows, Doors, and Mirrors
A bird that flies into a window or mirror may experience a concussion or broken neck. Frightened birds naturally fly toward the light to escape. It could be a window or a door, but mirrors reflect the light in the room, too. Hitting solid glass at full speed can easily break your birds neck or cause a concussion. Keep your birds wings clipped to minimize this risk. Even interior doors can be risky. If your bird likes to sit on the top of an open door it could be injured when the door is closed.

9) Other Pets
While birds often live happily with other family pets, you should always be careful when your bird is around them. Even though ypu may think it is very cute for your bird to cuddle up to a dog or cat, the fluttering motion of birds attracts the prey instinct in cats, ferrets and dogs and the bacteria in a bite or scratch can be fatal to you bird within hours.

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 smoke has been implicated in respiratory disease in pet birds. Even nicotine from your hands can transfer onto your birds feathers and cause illness. Carbon monoxide is also dangerous to birds, so use a carbon monoxide detector in the home and be careful not to run your vehicle in an attached garage.

Common Household Products That Kill Parrots:

Aluminum cooking bags
Automatic dishwasher detergent
Carpet freshener
Cigarettes and cigarette smoke
Cleaning solutions
Coffee grounds
Chocolate candies
Epoxy glue
Essential oils
Ethylene glycol (antifreeze, film)
Flea collars and sprays
Furniture polish
Homemade play dough (toxic levels of salt)
Leather protecting sprays
Linoleum (contains lead)
Medicines (both prescription and over the counter)
Oven cleaners
Personal care products
Pesticide strips, sprays, foggers
Pine oil cleaners
Plant spikes and all fertilizer
Plug-in air fresheners
Potpourri oils
Poisonous plants (inside and outside)
Spray starch
Tea tree oil (Melaleuca)
Teflon cooking pans
Thermometers (contain mercury)

Remember, your pets count!

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