Tips for keeping your bird safe and tick-free at home

Birds are very sensitive to environmental pollutants and poor air quality. In the 1800s canaries were routinely carried into coal mines — if a canary died, the miners knew they, too, were in danger and should evacuate. Here's how to keep them safe at home.

Tips for keeping your bird safe and tick-free at home

Beware of household fumes

  • The kitchen may seem like a friendly place for a bird, but it is actually filled with potential poisons.
  • Nonstick pans placed over high heat can give off fumes that are toxic to birds, and it's best not to expose birds to aerosol cleaner and detergent fumes.

Watch the temperature

  • Carefully research the care needed for the type of bird you have.
  • Most thrive in a very specific and narrow range of temperatures.
  • Put your bird in a room where you can regulate the temperature year-round, and where there are no drafts.
  • Place the cage well away from windows and, if possible, cover it at night with a breathable cloth cover.

Use a safe, secure cage

  • Antique and decorative cages are often beautiful, but may have sharp edges, bars far enough apart to either trap or let birds escape, or wood bars that birds can chew through.
  • Even worse, they may have been painted with lead-based paint.
  • Use such cages as decorative objects, and house your birds in cages with stainless steel or nontoxic enamelled bars.

Avoid dangerous treats

  • Chocolate can be lethal to birds. Wash vegetable and fruit skins to remove pesticide residue.
  • While it's safe to offer apples, cherries, peaches and pears to birds, their seeds are toxic, as are all parts of avocado, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, salt, dried beans and rice.

The easy way to trap bird ticks

  • If your bird has ticks, hang a disposable white cloth (or a paper towel) on one side of its cage.
  • The ticks are attracted to the bright object.
  • After the ticks congregate on the cloth, remove and dispose of it in a sealed plastic bag.
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