Never leave standing water in the bath or sink. It takes very little water to create a drowning hazard.
Small bird hazards:
The Rest of the Home – General Dangers
Most of these require no explanation:
All smoking implements: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, matches, etc. These are toxic even if they are not lit. Any smoke produced is potentially toxic (including burning incense). Dirty ashtrays are also toxic. Nicotine on the hands of smokers can also produce an allergic reaction in birds, so wash with soap and water after smoking, prior to handling your Parrot. NEVER smoke indoors.
Toxic or thorny house plants (for safe plants, see: https://www.birdsnways.com/articles/plntsafe.htm)
Things Parrots Should NOT to Chew On:
Improperly glazed ceramics
Metallic paints, many artist paints (including fumes from drying paint)
High gloss paper often used in advertising (the ink is toxic)
Metal toys, jewellery, chains or decorations, cheap jewellery – these often contain dangerous levels of lead. Zinc, copper and iron can also lead to metal toxicosis. Also dangerous: House keys, many coins (i.e. American pennies), magnetic business cards, mirror backing
Lead poisoning is very common in companion Parrots. Don’t let your Parrot chew on your walls and windowsills! Lead-based paint is common in pre-1980 homes (in North America, anyway), often buried under many layers of non-toxic paint. Unless your older home has been sand-blasted to the wood, assume the presence of lead paint underneath it all. Other sources of lead include: stained glass ornaments or “sun-catchers”, foil from wine bottles, fishing weights and lead solder.
Read this account by AVS on lead and zinc poisoning in Parrots.
Problems in the Bird’s Immediate Environment
Avoid toxic children’s toys: According to the Center for Health, Environment and Justice [https://chej.org/ ], children’s toys containing toxic PVC are still being sold by large children’s toy stores) so do not assume such items would be safe for a Parrot.
Pressure treated lumber, conventional plywood and particle board – untreated pine is the safer choice for wood-chomping Parrots.
Unsafe or damaged cages with unsafe bar spacing, broken welds, rust and/or chipping paint.
Inadequate diet (malnutrition continues to be the source of most Parrot illness)
Dirty drinking water, such as “Parrot soup” in water bowls
Corncob or walnut shell substrates in cage or perch bases, as they encourage fungal growth
Here is an excellent warning about natural branches from the Birds N’ Ways website:
Note: Nothing is safe if toxic chemicals or insecticides have been sprayed on them. Before installing them in any cage, scrub all branches with a non-toxic disinfectant (such as a diluted chlorine bleach solution) then rinse and dry well (Eg: preferably in the sun). (https://www.birdsnways.com/articles/plntsafe.htm)
Human saliva – Trust me, you do NOT want to know the sorts of germs that live quite happily in the human mouth, no matter how fastidious a person might be. Do not mouth-feed your Parrot or let it “clean your teeth.” It is not cute to allow that.
Stagnant, unhealthy indoor air isn’t good for humans, either. Run air filters if necessary, and open windows for fresh air whenever possible.
Walking outside, forgetting you have a bird on shoulder
Sleeping with a Parrot (accidental smothering is also the likely cause of many so-called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome [SIDS] cases in human babies)
Children – I know yours are perfect but what about your neighbours’ kids?
Other pets such as dogs, cats, ferrets and larger birds. And please be aware that your presence will not prevent a tragedy, as you simply WILL NOT BE ABLE TO MOVE FAST ENOUGH. But you will likely end up with memories you will wish you did not have, in addition to an injured or dead bird.
With outings in the car, secure safe carriers with the seat belt, placed in the back seat of car. The force at which air bags open is not only deadly to infants, as carriers can be collapsed and birds inside killed.
POST EMERGENCY NUMBERS BY EACH PHONE
Conclusion (or, Shall We All Panic?)
I know the list of potentially hazardous and toxic items is long and probably frightening. However, when you think about it, common sense has already told you about a lot of the things I’ve mentioned (though I admit that magnetized business cards hadn’t occurred to me).
Anything that is really smelly or gives of smoke is a potential danger to a bird’s extraordinarily efficient – and fragile – respiratory system, which works much better than ours. After all, their respiratory system is designed to remove and use every molecule of oxygen from the air so they can fly fast and high if necessary. That same wondrous system means their lungs will also remove every molecule of airborne chemicals as well.
Anything that is not specifically designed for a Parrot to chew could be a problem. While the ink in phone books and black and white newspapers are rarely a problem, the ink used in shiny advertizing paper is a serious hazard. If you are not sure if something is safe around your Parrot, always err on the side of caution.
Any Parrot toy that has not come from an excellent and reputable company such as Northern Parrots™ (or I would not be writing for them) is potentially suspect. Cheap is NOT better when it comes to Parrot toys and equipment, and “Let the buyer beware” becomes a frightening warning when you consider the potential for disaster with our beloved companion birds.
See the hundreds of Parrot toys available here.
And likely the greatest danger in our environment is allowing Parrots to wander about the home without proper supervision. Don’t we all know a Parrot without guidance is bound to get into trouble? After all, what else would you expect from an intelligent critter with a can opener attached to its face?
References and Sources for More Information:
Precautions for Parrot Keepers
Carolyn Swicegood (https://www.landofvos.com/articles/safety.html)
Safe Plants: https://www.birdsnways.com/articles/plntsafe.htm