Keep Your Parrots Safe this Holiday Season

Keep Your Parrots Safe this Holiday Season

By Taylor Knight

It’s that time of year again and Christmas will be here before you know it. How time flies! Here is your friendly reminder to help keep your parrots safe as we enter another holiday season. Don’t forget to share this with your friends!

A little planning, some supervision, and a few things to watch out for can go a long way toward both you and your bird having a happy holiday. If I have forgotten anything, please let me know and I will build on this article for next year!


We all know Christmas can be a stressful time for us humans. Our parrots must think we have lost our minds. New people around, strange decorations, etc. Stick to your bird’s regular schedule as much as possible, don’t forget the lovin’ and playtime. Oh, and make sure there is plenty of time for a good night’s sleep for both you and your bird.


Be careful of Angel Hair, it’s spun glass and that just can’t be good for anyone that eats it. Tinsel and garland are another big concern, it can cause intestinal obstructions if ingested. I don’t know what kinds of decorations you have at your house, but just be aware that they are unfamiliar to your bird and they may or may not panic at the sight of some of them. Many decorations are made of toxic or potentially toxic materials like different plastics, scented pinecones, hidden wires made of who knows what, stuff that is sprayed on so decorations look “fresh” longer. And don’t forget the common everyday things lying around that could cause problems such as rubber bands, string, ribbon, tape, tacks, little nails, glue, etc.

Candles and Smelly Stuff aka Fragrances

Candles with lead wicks can be toxic, usually you will find them in cheap imported candles. Burning candles with fragrances is very irritating to your bird’s sensitive respiratory system. Those candles with “essential oils” in them that smell great to you are HIGHLY TOXIC WHEN BURNED. Try 100% beeswax candles instead. They are more expensive, but burn five to seven times longer, are not scented and burn cleaner. One other word of caution – burns and wax spills have been known to happen when a wayward bird collides with a candle so ALWAYS watch your candles and your bird, don’t leave either one of them without supervision. I have a rule, IF I light a candle it’s 100% beeswax and the parrot gang has to be in their cages.

Potpourri, air fresheners, and a host of other smelly spraying things irritate the daylights out of your bird in so many ways. (They also irritate me, so it is not a problem for my birds because I don’t use them in my home.) Try and go for something more natural if you feel the need to “scent” your house. Heat up some water in a pan on the stove and throw in a few organic cinnamon sticks, that smells yummy. Oh yes, can’t forget this one NO SMOKING AROUND THE BIRDS – PERIOD!

Lights and Electrical Cords

Make sure these are concealed as well as possible so little birdie brains don’t get any smart ideas and want to play with them. They could get shocked (as in probably killed) or burned by chewing on them. If they are loose, they could get tangled in them.


I think most people with parrots know by now that Poinsettias and Holly are dangerous if eaten, but did you know that Philodendron, Ivy and Mistletoe are also. In case you didn’t there’s is no excuse now. These plants have the potential to cause life threatening problems for your parrot if eaten!

Dressing up Birdie

Not that you would do it, but watch those little ones. They seem to think it’s a good idea to stick bows on (ouch) or drape ribbon over and around birds. Talk about a strangulation hazard. Ribbon or string may cause intestinal obstructions if they eat it.

Food and Drink

Alcoholic drinks, hot chocolate, coffee, and the ever-present eggnog are popular drinks at Christmas time. If your place is anything like mine, there are yummy fattening human goodies everywhere like cookies, candy, cakes and deserts. Watch that your birdie doesn’t get into the holiday spirit this way! I like to put some water in a dark coffee mug (a duplicate of mine) and give the fids sips out of that. I don’t know what they think it is, but it’s in a coffee mug like mine and they are happy to drink it. Keep some nice fresh treats on hand for your birdies to munch on. I like pea pods, birdie bread, almonds and a little fruit. That way they won’t feel left out and I have to keep Zeke (African Grey) from saying “Mmmm, want some?” all night long.

Non-Stick Coated Surfaces

Be extra careful not to overheat any non-stick cookware or anything with a non-stick surface! Those toxic fumes can kill birds in no time flat. I know this warning has been around for a long time, but with extra cooking going on, I thought I would remind you all again.


Having guests over? I know you would never feed your bird anything it’s not supposed to have or subject it to extra stress, but watch your guests. Make sure they don’t give your bird anything to eat or drink that could cause a problem. Of course, for us bird lovers, it almost goes without saying to make sure they are not causing the bird any undue stress like poking their fingers in the cage or just generally annoying your bird. Show them where the acceptable bird treats and give them a rule run down about being nice to parrots.


Want a nice warm fire in the fireplace? Is your fireplace in good shape or is this the first time you will be using it this year? What type of wood are you burning? Is the damper open? Check those “instant fire logs” and make sure they do not contain lead or arsenic. DO NOT BURN WRAPPING PAPER OR PRESSURE TREATED WOOD EVER! It’s fine to have a fire as long as your fireplace is working like a should, has some type of guard across the front, and is being vented properly.

Wrapping Paper

Wrapping “paper” is a stretch. Lots of these innocent looking colorful papers contain toxic substances. Do not allow your bird to eat it and DO NOT burn it in your fireplace. If you are going to wrap a present for your bird, please use plain paper. If worst comes to worst, use a sheet of a black and white section of a newspaper.


May scare the daylights of your feathered friend. Take it slow and never place the tree where your parrot can chew on it.

Artificial Snow or Flocking
I couldn’t find anywhere that said these were definitely a hazard, but they are not meant to be ingested and I am pretty darn sure they are not good for your bird if they inhale the fumes of that stuff either. When if doubt, just skip it. It’s just not worth it.

Open Doors / Windows
With all the extra commotion going on around the holidays a little extra precaution about open doors seems to be in order. People going in and out, packages and food being carried in and out, point is that your door will probably get a workout. Not only that, but new things like trees or big boxes, might startle your bird and they may panic and fly. Just make sure you little feathered friend is out of harm’s way and not in the direct path of the chilly air.

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season
Please, I don’t want to hear about any accidents this holiday season. You all know what to do. And a message to your bird: (It’s not you. The humans really ARE out of their minds for a couple of weeks a year.) Remember, a little precaution and supervision go a long way in keeping everyone safe and happy!

Your Parrot Place

Taylor Knight is President of Your Parrot Place, providers of the highest quality parrot food, toys, cages and supplies available. – Only the Best for Your Parrot!

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