© RAAVE 2017
Reno Area Avian Enthusiasts The joining together of people who share a common interest in keeping and breeding birds
THE JOINING TOGETHER OF PEOPLE WHO SHARE A COMMON INTEREST IN KEEPING AND BREEDING BIRDS

Danger! Danger!

Copyright © Lisa McManus. Previously published in International Conure Association newsletters. Used with permission. Household dangers are ever present. They are also things we can try to guard against. It helps to take a different view of your home. Look at it through the eyes of a bird, a being with wings who is curious and sees all items as playthings. If your bird is unclipped, the most obvious dangers are windows and mirrors. They don't understand that there is a barrier against where it appears they are headed. When they fly into a window or mirror they can be stunned both mentally and physically. Or worse, they could break their neck and die instantly. (This makes a good argument in favor of trimming wings.) Decals on glass and mirrors can help to show that something is there, not just space through which to fly. Screens on windows and doors will soften the impact and also help to protect against an escape. Open vessels of water - such as toilets, sinks, bathtubs, aquariums and pots - can look like a great place to bathe or get a drink. But, birds cannot tell water depth simply by looking. Once in the water, if they can't stand with most of their body above the surface, their feathers become heavy and they are unable to fly or crawl out, and they drown. Aquarium water has yet another hazard: bacteria, which can infect your bird. Always cover standing water or empty it out. Even glasses with liquid in them. If the glass is tall enough the bird cannot back out and can drown in as little as a half inch of liquid. A fireplace with a fire, or smoldering coals, can be a great thing to investigate. Fire seems to interest our birds as much as it does us. Feathers are quickly singed when too close to the flames. Even the glass doors are extremely hot and can singe or burn. Logs using fire color contain heavy metals such as arsenic, barium, lead and selenium. Toxic particles may travel in the smoke and be inhaled by our birds. Use fireguards, and close the flue when the fireplace is not in use. After all, that could be a direct route to the outside world. Ceiling fans humming and turning can be an enticement to your birds. But, striking the fan blade can injure or kill. There are plastic blade guards available that can soften the blow and lessen any damage caused to your bird. However, it is best not to have a ceiling fan running if a flighted bird is in the vicinity. It is so easy to lay down items we are using and not think about them as playthings. We know how shiny items attract birds; it doesn't stop with watches and earrings. Think of all the things in your house that shine: knives, scissors, paper clips, staples, pins - just to name a few. These can all be hazardous to our birds. Make sure you find those staples and pieces of wire you dropped in the carpet and throw them away. When swallowed they can cause metal poisoning or obstruction. Other items such as scissors and knives can cut and maim. Electrical wires and cords can look like a wonderful source of fun. But, they can be punctured causing electrocution. If you see your bird playing with an electrical cord, do not try to take it away from him. If you try to take the cord away, the bird will naturally grip harder, possibly puncturing the cord. First, unplug the cord from the wall. Then you can safely detach the bird from the cord. Try to keep cords and wires out of sight, but if this is not possible, unplug the cords before allowing your bird out to play. Our birds have very sensitive respiratory systems and are very susceptible to fumes and smoke. Sprays from room deodorizers, perfumes, hair spray, glass cleaners, and other chemical sprays can be dangerous for up to a half an hour, possibly longer, after being sprayed. These fumes can travel through the house through the air vents, so other rooms and areas can be affected as well. Remember that most of these sprays will leave a residue that can be ingested and also be fatal. Scented candles and potpourri release toxic fumes from the volatile oils used to give the scent. Natural oils such as cinnamon and nutmeg will achieve the same results as scented candles and potpourri without the dangerous side effects. Cigarette smoke is very detrimental to birds. Chemicals are airborne with each puff. It is best not to smoke in any area where your bird resides or visits. Try limiting smoking to the garage or a room that is far removed from your bird and is directly ventilated to the outside. Your kitchen is probably the most dangerous room in your house to your bird. (Sometimes to us, too!) A stove in use offers hot burners and boiling liquids, and your bird cannot tell that a surface is hot. Non-stick cookware gives off an odorless gas, polytetrafluoroethylene, otherwise known as Teflon. Teflon is a brand name, but any non-stick cookware gives off this gas at temperatures as low as 285 degrees Fahrenheit. If you cannot guarantee that this product will not be used at low temperatures only, do not use this product in your house. It only takes a few seconds of exposure to harm your bird. Death usually occurs within 15 to 20 minutes after exposure, but sometimes it can take up to 24 hours. Your stove burners may also emit this gas. Other items containing "teflon" can be space heaters and self cleaning ovens. Check any item that heats up for this hazard. When in doubt, run the product outside or in the garage before using it in your house. Allow at least several hours of running time before taking it inside. Always keep appliance doors closed. If your bird is playing in a room while you are opening and closing appliance doors, be sure to double check that your bird has not decided to investigate and gets trapped inside. Especially dangerous are dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers and ovens. Pet saliva, such as dog or cat, can be deadly to a bird. A small scratch or bite, or seemingly innocuous lick, can infect your bird with a disease called septicemia, or blood poisoning. Saliva can contain bacteria called pasteurella multicocida, and toxins released by this bacteria cause osteoarthritis and can lead to septicemia, that creates liver and circulation problems. If exposed, take your bird to a vet immediately. Osteoarthritis develops in 8 to 12 hours, causing swelling, joint damage and paralysis. Always monitor and supervise interaction between species. Remember that instinct is a difficult thing to overcome. Dogs and cats are instinctually predatory, and birds are prey. While these are the more common dangers in our homes, there are others your bird can easily find. Try to use common sense and think ahead about how your bird will see its environment and how it will be effected.
© RAAVE 2017
Reno Area Avian Enthusiasts The joining together of people who share a common interest in keeping and breeding birds
THE JOINING TOGETHER OF PEOPLE WHO SHARE A COMMON INTEREST IN KEEPING AND BREEDING BIRDS

Danger! Danger!

Copyright © Lisa McManus. Previously published in International Conure Association newsletters. Used with permission. Household dangers are ever present. They are also things we can try to guard against. It helps to take a different view of your home. Look at it through the eyes of a bird, a being with wings who is curious and sees all items as playthings. If your bird is unclipped, the most obvious dangers are windows and mirrors. They don't understand that there is a barrier against where it appears they are headed. When they fly into a window or mirror they can be stunned both mentally and physically. Or worse, they could break their neck and die instantly. (This makes a good argument in favor of trimming wings.) Decals on glass and mirrors can help to show that something is there, not just space through which to fly. Screens on windows and doors will soften the impact and also help to protect against an escape. Open vessels of water - such as toilets, sinks, bathtubs, aquariums and pots - can look like a great place to bathe or get a drink. But, birds cannot tell water depth simply by looking. Once in the water, if they can't stand with most of their body above the surface, their feathers become heavy and they are unable to fly or crawl out, and they drown. Aquarium water has yet another hazard: bacteria, which can infect your bird. Always cover standing water or empty it out. Even glasses with liquid in them. If the glass is tall enough the bird cannot back out and can drown in as little as a half inch of liquid. A fireplace with a fire, or smoldering coals, can be a great thing to investigate. Fire seems to interest our birds as much as it does us. Feathers are quickly singed when too close to the flames. Even the glass doors are extremely hot and can singe or burn. Logs using fire color contain heavy metals such as arsenic, barium, lead and selenium. Toxic particles may travel in the smoke and be inhaled by our birds. Use fireguards, and close the flue when the fireplace is not in use. After all, that could be a direct route to the outside world. Ceiling fans humming and turning can be an enticement to your birds. But, striking the fan blade can injure or kill. There are plastic blade guards available that can soften the blow and lessen any damage caused to your bird. However, it is best not to have a ceiling fan running if a flighted bird is in the vicinity. It is so easy to lay down items we are using and not think about them as playthings. We know how shiny items attract birds; it doesn't stop with watches and earrings. Think of all the things in your house that shine: knives, scissors, paper clips, staples, pins - just to name a few. These can all be hazardous to our birds. Make sure you find those staples and pieces of wire you dropped in the carpet and throw them away. When swallowed they can cause metal poisoning or obstruction. Other items such as scissors and knives can cut and maim. Electrical wires and cords can look like a wonderful source of fun. But, they can be punctured causing electrocution. If you see your bird playing with an electrical cord, do not try to take it away from him. If you try to take the cord away, the bird will naturally grip harder, possibly puncturing the cord. First, unplug the cord from the wall. Then you can safely detach the bird from the cord. Try to keep cords and wires out of sight, but if this is not possible, unplug the cords before allowing your bird out to play. Our birds have very sensitive respiratory systems and are very susceptible to fumes and smoke. Sprays from room deodorizers, perfumes, hair spray, glass cleaners, and other chemical sprays can be dangerous for up to a half an hour, possibly longer, after being sprayed. These fumes can travel through the house through the air vents, so other rooms and areas can be affected as well. Remember that most of these sprays will leave a residue that can be ingested and also be fatal. Scented candles and potpourri release toxic fumes from the volatile oils used to give the scent. Natural oils such as cinnamon and nutmeg will achieve the same results as scented candles and potpourri without the dangerous side effects. Cigarette smoke is very detrimental to birds. Chemicals are airborne with each puff. It is best not to smoke in any area where your bird resides or visits. Try limiting smoking to the garage or a room that is far removed from your bird and is directly ventilated to the outside. Your kitchen is probably the most dangerous room in your house to your bird. (Sometimes to us, too!) A stove in use offers hot burners and boiling liquids, and your bird cannot tell that a surface is hot. Non-stick cookware gives off an odorless gas, polytetrafluoroethylene, otherwise known as Teflon. Teflon is a brand name, but any non-stick cookware gives off this gas at temperatures as low as 285 degrees Fahrenheit. If you cannot guarantee that this product will not be used at low temperatures only, do not use this product in your house. It only takes a few seconds of exposure to harm your bird. Death usually occurs within 15 to 20 minutes after exposure, but sometimes it can take up to 24 hours. Your stove burners may also emit this gas. Other items containing "teflon" can be space heaters and self cleaning ovens. Check any item that heats up for this hazard. When in doubt, run the product outside or in the garage before using it in your house. Allow at least several hours of running time before taking it inside. Always keep appliance doors closed. If your bird is playing in a room while you are opening and closing appliance doors, be sure to double check that your bird has not decided to investigate and gets trapped inside. Especially dangerous are dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers and ovens. Pet saliva, such as dog or cat, can be deadly to a bird. A small scratch or bite, or seemingly innocuous lick, can infect your bird with a disease called septicemia, or blood poisoning. Saliva can contain bacteria called pasteurella multicocida, and toxins released by this bacteria cause osteoarthritis and can lead to septicemia, that creates liver and circulation problems. If exposed, take your bird to a vet immediately. Osteoarthritis develops in 8 to 12 hours, causing swelling, joint damage and paralysis. Always monitor and supervise interaction between species. Remember that instinct is a difficult thing to overcome. Dogs and cats are instinctually predatory, and birds are prey. While these are the more common dangers in our homes, there are others your bird can easily find. Try to use common sense and think ahead about how your bird will see its environment and how it will be effected.