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Wings of Hope, New Jersey
Rescue and Sanctuary
P.O. Box 22, Cleveland, GA  30528
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Household Dangers
General Information

Birds are naturally mischievous and will get into many predicaments. It is crucial that you "bird proof" your home. The bird's cage is its house and the confines of your home represents the bird's environment. There are many dangers within these surroundings.

Temperature and Humidity

Moderate and gradual changes ranging from 10 - 20°F (2 - 5°C) in  temperature are usually tolerated very well by a healthy bird. Sick birds will need a more consistently warm temperature. Humidity in the range of 40 - 50% is ideal for most birds. It is better to have too much humidity than have the environment too dry. If allowed to bathe in the hot sun, a bird must always have access to shade in the event it should become over heated.


Birds should always be free from drafts such as those created around windows, outside walls, radiators and air vents.

Air Pollution

Birds have a very efficient respiratory system and are very sensitive to  pollutants in the air. Birds are exceptionally susceptible to second-hand smoke. Cigarettes, cigars and pipes should not be used around your bird. Cooking fumes, gases such as carbon monoxide, volatile cleaning products, paints, varnishes, fire place fumes and dirty household air ducts may cause respiratory problems.

Paints, Varnishes, etc.

Generally, if you can smell it, then consider it unsafe for the bird. Ventilate  the environment well after use of any of these products before returning the bird to the area. Contact the company that produces the product for specific  recommendations.


Over-heated Teflon-coated cooking appliances release a toxin that does not  seem to affect humans but will cause death to a bird within 24 hours.


Generally speaking, it is unwise to house a bird in the kitchen, as there are too many potential hazards. Teflon as described above is a priority concern. Hot stove elements, open pots of hot soups or sauces and even a sink full of water may be possible dangers. All cleaning products present possible hazards including oven cleaners.


Open toilet bowls and full sinks or bathtubs are possible perils to a bird.  Pet birds do not swim well and excessively hot water may severely burn a bird. There are often dangerous cleaning products in a bathroom as well. Various drugs that are kept around most households are potential dangers to your bird. Keep these products locked up and away from your bird.

Oil or Grease

Whether hot or cold, oil and feathers do not mix. Do not use oil or grease based medicines on a bird for any reason. Oils will mat down feathers, decrease their insulation qualities and make a bird susceptible to chills leading to other health problems. Examples of products to avoid include Vaseline, mineral oil, oil based ointments or salves (including some sold in pet stores), cooking oils, cod liver oil and certainly motor oils.

Other Pets

Cats, dogs and ferrets can be a potential danger to your bird. These animals have a natural hunting instinct and your bird may become the victim. Never leave these animals alone together unattended. In general, smaller birds are at greater risk but why take chances with any bird?

Mirrors and Windows

Birds may not initially master the concept of glass or mirrors. To the bird,  there is nothing solid there. No barriers are perceived. Curtains, shears or some object in from of these surfaces will provide some objectivity for the bird.

Fish Bowls

Any open container of water should be considered a danger zone. If the bird  should fly in it, it may drown.

Noise Pollution

Birds generally seem to enjoy a certain amount of commotion and may become vocal and playfully excited by vacuuming, the sound of an electric razor or the normal activities of people about the house. Excessively loud noise from televisions, stereos, construction or even appliances such as vacuum cleaners or food processors may cause undue stress to some birds. Remember the bird is captive in your home and cannot freely escape these sounds. Exposure to noise should be limited to the bird's normal waking hours.

Plants -- See Plants Toxic to Pets link.


Never allow a bird to fly while a fan of any sort is running. The bird cannot see the blades while they are in motion.

Stucco Ceilings

Although normally very skilled and graceful at flight, a bird may occasionally strike objects or surfaces while exercising. Stucco ceilings may act like sandpaper on the top of the bird's head as it moves along at high speeds. Try to make these rooms "out of bounds".

Electrical Cords

Birds love to chew and the soft, rubbery, chewable coating of electrical cords may be a very enticing play toy for your bird. Due to the potential danger of electrocution, facial burns and even a serious fire hazard, electrical cords must be hidden away or unplugged.

Open Windows, Doors

Either the bird's wings are clipped or all windows and doors are kept closed  all the time. Once a bird escapes and is sitting at the top of a neighbor's  tree, even the friendliest bird may have a difficult time finding reason to come home. Do not take chances.

Lead and Zinc Poisoning

If lead is around, your bird will find it! Lead is commonly found in many places around the house. Examples include curtain weights, solder on cages or plumbing, older paints, batteries, pellets from air rifles, Tiffany lamps, stained glass windows, some costume jewelry and zipper teeth. Lead is soft, fun to chew on and easily swallowed. Also known as heavy metal toxicosis, lead and zinc poisoning is life threatening.


Most pet bird toys are considered safe for you bird. It is important that you check all toys for loose clasps, removable or chewable parts and sharp edges before offering them to a bird.