The holidays are a festive time, but they can also be dangerous for your pet bird. Make sure to protect your bird from these eight potential hazards during the holiday season.
#1 Fires in the Fireplace
Be sure to keep the yule logs and fire color additives away from your birds. They contain heavy metals such as such as arsenic, barium, lead and selenium. If ingested, they could cause heavy metal poisoning. Particles may also be included in the smoke. Keep birds out of the room when you have a fire. Smoke is an irritant to our feathered friends.
Furnaces heating your home often lead to dry air. Dry air can mean dry skin and dry breathing passages for our pet birds. Try to keep the humidity up near your birds. And be sure they can bathe frequently.
Check windows and doors for leaks. Birds can handle lower temperatures, but a cold draft can make your bird ill.
#4 Teflon Heaters and Appliances
These include heaters, lamps, Teflon coated bulbs, irons, stove top burners, griddles, hair dryers, etc. When Teflon is heated it gives off poisonous fumes which can quickly kill. Reports indicate that Teflon fumes can be generated at temperatures as low as 285 degrees. Using multiple appliances at the same time is an additive and increases the amount of Teflon fumes in the air. Teflon fumes are carried on air currents, so a bird does not have to be in the same room to be affected. Don’t use Teflon near your birds.
#5 Power Outages
Plan for emergencies. Inexpensive backup power supplies are available. Keep carriers, heating pads, prepared food packets and bottled water available for quick access.
#6 Incense and Candles
Scented candles, incense, carpet fresheners and air fresheners contain volatile oils which are poisonous to birds. Use unscented candles and supervise your birds when they are out.
#7 Holiday Plants
Poinsettia plants, Christmas cactus, Holly berries and Mistletoe berries are dangerous. Poinsettia stems have a milky sap which irritates eyes and the digestive tract. Holly tree berries also irritate the gastrointestinal tract. Mistletoe berries are toxic.
#8 Trees and Decorations
Keep your birds away from your Christmas tree. Pine and fir trees are not toxic. However, the needles from pine trees and artificial trees are sharp and can cause trauma, if ingested. Cedar contains irritants and should not be used. Decorations made of plastic such as some angel hair, tinsel, spray snow and ornaments are non-toxic. However, ingesting pieces of them can cause blockage of the intestinal tract. Some angel hair is made of fiberglass which is very dangerous if eaten. If you use a spray-on decoration, keep your birds away while you spray. Some of the propellants contain freon. Glass and metallic ornaments and lights can be broken. The sharp edges can cause cuts, both externally and internally. Bubbling light fluid contains a toxic solvent which irritates eyes. Electrical cords are another source of danger. Avoid metallic wrapping papers which can contain heavy metals and can harm a bird if ingested.