Many of us have heard stories about birds outlasting their owners. This is a surprise to many, considering the delicate appearance of most species of birds. Birds, especially canaries, were used by miners to test the quality of the air deep in the mines. When the air reaches relatively unhealthy levels, the canaries are affected adversely and succumb to the fatal effects. This gives miners ample warning before the air became fatal for humans. This shows the keen perception of birds.
Pet birds are easily affected by unwholesome smells, similar to wild birds. Common household appliances and items such as Teflon pans, aerosol sprays and even innocuous furniture polish can be fatal for birds. The best policy when handling anything that may give off a strong odor is to use it in a well-ventilated area that is well away from your birds.
Pet birds have a strong desire to chew, and this can prove to be a serious danger. Lead poisoning can be caused when a bird chews on soldered joints found on welded items. In addition, birds like to nibble on potted plants. Despite contrary belief, poinsettia plants are not poisonous. It is important to remember that if you are unsure if a plant is toxic or not, it is best to err on the side of caution and move the plant away from the bird. A small pot of innocuous parsley can be helpful to the bird to overcome the desire of nibbling on houseplants as it is a safe substitute.
Fresh food that is fed to your birds will do them a whole lot of good; however, food like coffee, chocolate and avocado are fatal for birds and they should never be given such foods.
As the holiday season approaches, most people will bring a tree into their house. Many people associate a tree with a birds natural habitat and assume that their birds will enjoy climbing it. While the birds may in fact enjoy such an activity, many pine trees are toxic to birds, especially if they have been treated with any type of preservatives. In addition, ornaments and electric lights can pose a safety hazard to your birds.
If your bird does not have its wings clipped, there are quite a few additional safety concerns to be addressed. Firstly, all glass doors and windows should be shielded one way or another. A good bet is achieved by blinds, shades or curtains. Placing safety decals on windows and glass is another option, besides curtains or blinds, to alert the bird that the glass is there and help avoid serious or fatal accidents. Mirrors and other large reflective surfaces should be treated similarly when your bird is out of its cage.
Standing water can pose as a form of danger as well. Your bird can drown in a toilet or full kitchen sink in a matter of seconds. Cooking while a bird is out of its cage is not advised, especially if you have an uncovered pot on the stove.
Finally, always be mindful of the whereabouts of your bird even if its wings are clipped. Even a bird with clipped wings can soar for a considerable distance if there is an upward breeze. It is easy to forget that your bird is perched on your shoulder when your doorbell suddenly rings and you rush to answer it but you must remember never to carry your bird to an open door regardless of whether or not its wings are clipped.
By Moses Wright