Most Hazardous Foods for Birds

Pet birds can get away with quite a bit of human food, which of course adds to the fun and friendship we share. But there are some eatables even the most peckish parrot should avoid, if you don’t want him to get seriously sick, or worse – bite the dust.

So, let’s talk through these nourishment no-no’s, so you can keep your Songbird safe.

1. Chocolate

Studies say chocolate is good for humans – whoo-hoo! – which works out well, but unfortunately it’s harmful and sometimes even fatal, for pet birds. It’s the same way chocolate – especially dark – is toxic for our furry friends, dogs and cats.

2. Apple Seeds

Seeds from apples and other stone fruits are a definite no-no for Paco, because they contain trace amounts of cyanide. (Okay, Angry Birds – now you really have a reason to show up.) Certainly, share the fruit of the apple with your feathery friend, but pitch those poisonous seeds. You’ll also want to be especially careful about pesticides used on the fruit’s skin, during the growth period. So, do your Dove a favour and wash the fruit well.

3. Avocado

You won’t want to go halfsies with your African Grey on the avocado, either. Avocado can actually cause cardiac distress and eventual heart failure in some species of pet birds, particularly Parrots. Also, keep the guacamole and other avocado products at your table, not theirs.

4. Onions

Just as onions and garlic are bad news for dogs and cats, they can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and a host of other digestive problems for your feathered friend. Long-term, these veggies can also lead to other serious side effects. So, skip ’em.

5. Alcohol

We may like a drink or two, but you REALLY don’t want to be boozing with Buddy. From alcohol poisoning to the dangers of drinking while flying, your bird won’t be safe anywhere near alcohol. So, if you’re having nightcap, it’s best to let your Canary celebrate soberly, from the comfort of his cage.

6. Mushrooms

Just as there are certain mushrooms we shouldn’t have a peck at, the same goes for our ravenous Cockatoos. In fact, just leave ’em off the table totally, if Lucky is on the loose. Mushrooms can cause digestive upset – even liver failure in birds, depending on the variety.

7. Tomato Leaves

You say ‘tomato’, your Parrot says ‘to-mah-toe’, but he still shouldn’t have a lick of tomato stems, vines or leaves. While the fruit inside the skin is an OK treat for your pet, the rest is highly toxic. So, be extra careful, pet-lovers.

8. Salt

We all need salt, but in the right amount. Too much salt for your pet bird, is for the birds. It can lead to excessive thirst, dehydration, kidney dysfunction and ultimately, a dirt nap for Daisy. So, be careful and shut down that shaker as needed, folks.

9. Caffeine

It’s best to save your barista skills for your human friends, pet-lovers, as caffeine is extremely hazardous to your bird’s health. In fact, it can cause cardiac malfunction. So, instead, try treating Tweety to a little fruit or vegetable juice.

10. Dried Beans

You really don’t want to put uncooked beans on your Macaw’s menu, either. They actually contain a poison called hemaglutin, which is very toxic to birds. So, if your heart’s set on feeding them to your Finch, cook them well.

11. Rhubarb Leaves

Rhubarb leaves are poisonous to us, our furry and feathered friends alike. They contain high concentrations of oxalic acid, an intestinal irritant. In large doses, rhubarb leaves can be the grim reaper to your Small Conure. So, just leave ’em in the garden where they belong.

C’mon, just a little human food for our feathered friends?

Why not try pasta, whole grain bread or popcorn? Polly would love them, and they’re all full of energy-enhancing carbohydrates and fibre. So, on the next movie night, go ahead and pop some popcorn for you and your Parrot. But remember, just go easy on the salt. Treat, treat!