25 Bird Safety Tips: How to Parrot Proof a Home

Your pet bird needs a secure and healthy environment to thrive. Birds have sensitive respiratory systems, so prioritizing air quality within your home is imperative.

Keep the air free from smoke, fumes, and strong odors, which can all harm your bird. Opt for nonstick cookware without PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene), as overheated pans can release fumes toxic to birds, which can cause respiratory problems.

If you are a new bird owner, you’ll want to keep a close eye on this list!

We will cover 25 tips to keep pet birds safe in your home! Most potential hazards are covered below; if you missed one, feel free to email us!

25 Bird Safety Tips How to Parrot Proof a Home

Ventilation is Imperative for Bird Safety

Ensure your home is well-ventilated, but remember that drafts can be dangerous. Maintain a consistent, comfortable temperature, and avoid placing your bird’s cage directly under air conditioning or heating vents.

Windows and Mirrors Need to Be Thought Through

Birds can fly into them, not realizing they’re solid barriers. Install decals or keep curtains partially closed to prevent collisions.

​Make Sure Doors Are Never Left Open

When you accidentally leave a door open, your bird can fly away. If your pet bird has never been outdoors, it will be scared to be alone. They’ll sometimes fly up to the top of a tree and be too scared to move or fly towards you. So, open doors are not safe when you live with a bird!

Open Windows Need to Have Screens

If you share your home with pet birds, having screens on all windows is a good idea. Bird Safety Tips: How to Parrot Proof a Home.

Learn more about African Greys and how to care for them!

Water Hazards 

Toilet bowls, filled sinks, and open containers can pose drowning risks. Keep lids down and minimize accessible water sources.

Toxic Plants – You Need to Check if Your Houseplants Are Safe

Some household plants can be toxic to birds. Check that your indoor greenery is avian-safe before bringing it home. Choose your houseplants carefully if you have pet parrots, as some plants are toxic to birds.

Bird Safety Tips: How to Parrot Proof a Home. Common types of houseplants that are toxic to pet parrots include:

  1. Lilies (Lilium spp.): All parts of the plant are toxic and can cause severe kidney damage.
  2. Azaleas/Rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.): Contain grayanotoxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, hypotension, CNS depression, cardiovascular collapse, and death.
  3. Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia spp.): It contains oxalates, which can cause oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
  4. Philodendrons (Philodendron spp.) It contains insoluble calcium oxalates, which can cause oral irritation, pain, swelling in the mouth, tongue, and mucous membranes, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
  5. Pothos/Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum): These plants contain insoluble calcium oxalates like philodendrons.
  6. Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta): This palm is highly poisonous. The seeds contain the highest amount of cycasin, which can cause liver failure and death.
  7. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia spp.): Similar to Dieffenbachia, it’s very toxic due to oxalates.
  8. Oleander (Nerium oleander): Highly toxic, contains cardiac glycosides that can cause serious effects, including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia, and even death.
  9. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.): It contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can irritate the mouth, lips, and tongue and cause excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
  10. Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.): The bulb is the most poisonous part, causing salivation, gastrointestinal abnormalities, lethargy, tremors, and potentially severe drop in blood pressure.

This is not an exhaustive list, and sensitivity to toxicity may vary between individual birds. Before bringing a new plant into a home with birds, consult with a veterinarian if you suspect your parrot has ingested a toxic plant.

Air Fresheners Are Not Good for Homes With Parrots

These are a no-no if you have pet birds. Most air fresheners contain toxic fumes that can harm birds’ lungs and are unsafe to have around the house. 

Essential Oils May Not Be Safe

Be sure to use essential oils, like peppermints or tea tree oils, sparingly around your pet bird. These oils are often toxic if ingested or gotten directly on your skin. 

Learn more about Cockatiels with our cockatiel care guide!

Don’t Leave Toxic Foods Out for Your Bird to Grab

Avoid exposure to toxic foods like chocolate, salty crackers, caffeine, avocado, and certain seeds and pits. 

Certain foods and substances in the kitchen can harm your parrot. It’s critical to be aware and prevent accidental ingestion.

  • Avocado: This fruit contains persin, which is toxic to parrots. Keep avocados well out of reach.
  • Chocolate and Caffeine: Both contain theobromine and caffeine, which can be fatal to your bird. Never leave these within pecking distance.
  • Alcohol, Salt, Fat: All of these can lead to serious bird health issues or even death in birds. Securely store away any food or drink containing these ingredients.

Self-Cleaning Ovens Are Not a Safe Environment for a Bird to Be IN

Creating a bird-safe home means only using self-cleaning ovens if you take your bird outside. You’ll need to air out your house for hours before bringing your bird back inside.

Teflon and Nonstick Pans Are Not Safe for Pet Birds 

These can be deadly to your parrot. When overheated, nonstick cookware releases fumes that are toxic to birds. Opt for stainless steel, glass, or cast iron as safer alternatives. Creating a bird-safe kitchen means not using nonstick pans and switching to glass or stainless steel! 

Nonstick coatings, often found on cookware, bakeware, and various household appliances, can be hazardous to birds due to a chemical called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE, also known by the brand name Teflon, can release toxic fumes to birds when heated to high temperatures.

Birds have very sensitive respiratory systems, and these fumes can cause a condition known as “Teflon toxicity” or “PTFE toxicosis,” which can be fatal even in small amounts and over short exposure times.

Symptoms of PTFE toxicosis in birds can include:

  • Difficulty breathing or respiratory distress
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Incoordination or falling off their perch
  • Seizures
  • Sudden death

The toxicity is hazardous because birds can be affected very quickly, and symptoms can progress rapidly. The fumes generated by an overheated PTFE-coated item can fill a room and affect birds even if they are not in the same room as the cookware.

It’s recommended that bird owners avoid using PTFE-coated products or ensure that birds are kept in a well-ventilated area away from the kitchen to minimize your parrots risk of exposure to potentially toxic fumes.

Hot Pots of Water 

Always be vigilant when cooking. Move your bird to another room or ensure they’re caged to prevent accidental severe burns from hot splashes. You don’t want your bird flying over to you and landing in a hot pot of boiling water.

​An Open Flame on the Stovetop is Not Safe

Cooking with an open flame, like a gas range, is not a good idea if your parrot is flying around your house. If they accidentally get spooked and land on top of the stove, it will be a bad day for everyone. So, it is best to keep them in another room or caged when cooking.

Furniture and Decor for Your Parrot’s Safety

  • Furniture: Opt for bird-safe materials free from zinc and heavy metals, which can be toxic. Keep your parrot away from furniture with peeling paint, which might contain lead, another hazardous substance.
  • Decor: Remove or secure any small, detachable parts your bird could ingest. Ensure decorative plants are non-toxic, as many common houseplants can harm parrots.

When bird-proofing the living areas, be attentive to the interactions between your parrot, other pets, and kids. Always supervise these interactions to prevent accidents or injuries. Remember, bird-proofing is an ongoing process that requires regular review and adjustment to ensure your feathered friend’s safety.

Light Fixtures Need to Be Monitored

When your bird is out and about, you must ensure all your light fixtures are safe. A bird can fly into a lamp, causing it to crash down, which in turn is a hazard.

Ceiling Fans Are Dangerous for Flighted Birds

Ceiling fans are dangerous for companion birds, especially flighted birds. If your birds fly around the house, they can accidentally fly right into a ceiling fan and get badly injured. 

Candles and Scented Products

Avoid using scented candles or aerosols, as they can release harmful toxins to your parrot.

Cigarette Smoke is Hazardous to Your Pet Bird

Refrain from smoking cigarettes inside the house to prevent smoke inhalation.

Carbon Monoxide 

Install a carbon monoxide detector and keep it functional to monitor air quality.

Hairspray and Pesticides

If you must use hairspray, perfumes, or pesticides, do it in a different room or when your parrot is absent. Ensure the area is well-ventilated before bringing your parrot back. Most aerosol sprays are not safe for pet birds!

Electrical Cords

Electrical Cords: Regularly inspect electrical cords for any signs of damage and keep them out of reach. Parrots are curious and may peck or chew at cords, which can lead to electric shock or ingestion of harmful materials.

  • Cord Management Solutions:
    • Use cord covers or conduits to encase electrical wires.
    • Bundle excess cord length and secure it high up, away from beak range.
    • Consider wireless or battery-operated devices when possible.

Outlets: Ensure all unused electrical outlets are covered with safety plugs. Covering outlets deters your parrot from poking their beak into these tempting spaces.

Heating Appliances or Fireplaces are Not Safe for Birds

If a parrot gets too close, space heaters, fireplaces, and other heating elements can cause burns or fires.

  • Safety Measures:
    • Guard screens for fireplaces.
    • Keep heaters at a safe distance or use radiators without exposed heating elements.
    • Never leave your parrot unsupervised in a room with these appliances.

Water Dishes Can Hold Harmful Bacteria

You must change your bird’s water dish at least twice daily. Otherwise, it will build up with harmful bacteria that can quickly get your bird sick.

Christmas Trees Can Pose a Danger if Your Bird Flies Into It

Yes, a Christmas tree can potentially be harmful to a pet bird for several reasons:

  1. Pine Needles: Many Christmas trees are pine trees, and the needles can be sharp and indigestible. If ingested, they can cause gastrointestinal irritation or even puncture the digestive tract. Additionally, pine needles produce pine oil, which can be toxic to birds.
  2. Sap: Pine tree sap can be sticky and difficult to remove from feathers. It can also irritate a bird’s skin and, if ingested, lead to gastrointestinal upset.
  3. Pesticides and Preservatives: Christmas trees, unless certified organic, may have been treated with pesticides and preservatives, which can be harmful if a bird chews on the branches or needles. These chemicals can lead to poisoning.
  4. Decorations: Tinsels, lights, ornaments, and other decorations can be hazardous. Birds might chew on these items, potentially ingesting toxic materials or choking hazards. Electrical cords from lights also pose a risk of electrocution if chewed.
  5. Water Additives: Many people add preservatives to the water in the Christmas tree stand to prolong the tree’s life. These can be toxic to birds if they drink the water.
  6. Flocking: Artificial snow or flocking on Christmas trees can be toxic if ingested by birds. Flocking is made from synthetic materials that can contain harmful chemicals.

Take precautions to keep your pet parrot safe during the holiday when you have a Christmas tree. Keep the bird away from the tree, especially unsupervised. Consider opting for bird-safe decorations, avoiding tinsel and flocking, and ensuring any water additives are non-toxic and out of reach. Regularly clean up fallen needles to reduce the risk of ingestion.

Bird Toys That Are Not Labeled as “Parrot Safe”

It’s best only to use toys clearly labeled as safe for your bird. There have been many recalls of unsafe bird toys. So be aware of the potential dangers and try to shop at small, family-run bird toy companies. Many of the big pet stores carry bird toys made with unsafe plastics.