The world is a dangerous place. The natural
habitats of birds are quite dangerous but birds living in the
wild have developed instincts through evolution within their environments
to help them to survive many of these dangers. In the captive
environment, there are many different dangers than those possibly
faced in the wild. The problem is that birds have not completely
adapted to their new captive environments and it is up to us to
help to protect them. There will be new postings to this page
on a regular basis until I can no longer think of dangerous things
(that's a long time).
RACCOONS Raccoons are very common in most
parts of North America and many other parts of the world and can
be extremely dangerous to birds housed in outdoor aviaries/caging.
Often several individuals will work together to terrify a bird
or birds in an aviary until one of the raccoons is able to grab
a toe or wingtip. Once this happens, the hapless bird is then
literally eaten through the wire. "Lucky" birds might
survive an attack missing a leg or a wing. Please do not think
that it is impossible for a raccoon to get to your outdoor cages.
Please build "raccoon-proof" cages/aviaries for any
birds housed outdoors.
ROPE Rope made from three or four intertwined
strands can be very
dangerous, even potentially lethal,
to pet birds. I personally know of four larger psittacines (three
macaws and one Eclectus Parrot that were playing with rope toys
and were able to open the stands, insert their heads between these
strands, and strangle themselves. I do not recommend rope toys for pet psittacines
OPEN TOILETS An open toilet can be very dangerous
to pet birds. Imagine seeing a drowned bird floating in a toilet.
Unfortunately, I have seen this and it was
not a pretty sight! It only took one incident for me to become
obsessive about keeping toilet lids closed.
Many people already know that
avocado can be lethal to parrots if consumed. It is not known
if it is just the flesh of the avocado and/or the pit that is
the dangerous part. I was not sure if I believed this to be true
until I saw the results of eating avocado with my own eyes several
years ago. My neighbor and I had donated a pair of African Greys
to another young man who was in our neighborhood. He loved these
birds and cared for them well. One morning he appeared on my front
porch, sobbing, with the dead male Grey and two dead Grey babies.
He hadn't even known that the birds had laid eggs nor that they
had chicks. He also had the very ill female in a small cage. I
asked him to bring me their food tray as it looked like a toxin
to me. Indeed, there was a large partially eaten avocado in the
middle of the food dish. There were scraping marks on the pit
that had been made by the birds' beaks. My young friend had given
them the avocado because he had a tree in his yard and the birds
had been consuming more food recently (feeding the chicks, of
course). Our avian veterinarian could not save the female bird
either so this was the sad end to the neighborhood breeding project!
CEILING FANS An operating ceiling fan can be extremely
dangerous to a flighted bird. When moving, the whirring blades
can be difficult to see and a bird can fly right
into the blades with serious injury or death resulting. Do not
put a bird that is capable of flying loose in a room with a
operating ceiling fan.
For the same reason that ceiling
fans are dangerous, swinging doors can cause great harm to birds.
A bird will often try to follow its owner as the owner leaves
the room. Even a bird that has clipped wings
will sometimes leap off its perch after and owner or walk along
the floor behind its owner. A bird does not understand the danger
of a swinging door can be hit or crushed as the door swings back.
I do not recommend that birds be kept in an area where there is
a swinging door.
THE SLEEPING HUMAN
BODY One of the leading causes of death
of small pet birds is the human body rolling over and crushing
the defenseless small bird while the person is sleeping.
This is a tragic way to lose your little pet.
PLEASE don't EVER sleep
with your pet bird; not even a nap. Never. Ever.
& HEATING SYSTEMS Fumes from burning Teflon
are toxic to birds! This can kill VERY rapidly.
NEVER BURN A PAN THAT IS COATED WITH TEFLON
OR OTHER NON-STICK SURFACES!
I have also heard of cases whereby a new central heating system
has emitted fumes that have killed birds. Do not accept the manufacturer's assurances that
it is safe for your birds!
I know of another case of a new
pizza stone that emitted fumes the first time it was used and
that killed a young Moluccan Cockatoo.
SELF - CLEANING
OVENS Even if the manufacturer states that
there is no teflon
in the product, the fumes from self-cleaning ovens can sometimes
be toxic or fatal to birds. To be safe, I recommend removing birds
when an oven is being cleaned
and for birds to remain out of the area for twenty-four hours.
If a bird has unclipped wings,
it can easily fly into a glass window, seriously injuring or killing
itself. I know of several cases where birds have been left partially
paralyzed as a result of such accidents. If you have large glass
windows in your home where a bird has flying access, I would recommend
clipping the bird's wings.
Never allow your
bird to chew on metal of unknown composition. Stainless steel,
aluminum, and cage bars and paint in modern bird cages is safe.
If a bird has heavy metal poisoning from ingesting heavy metals
such as lead and zine, the feces will often appear t be very dark
green or black and "tarry". This is known as melena.
and is an indication of digested blood in the gut tract.
Other symptoms of heavy
metal poisoning include lethargy, trouble standing and/or
flying, respiratory distress, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Seeing a tarry stool from your bird is an indication that the
bird is quite ill and should see an avian veterinarian IMMEDIATELY!