Dr. Jeanne Smith, in the University of
California Exotic Bird Report, January.2001, states that "there has only been
limited research done on safe and toxic plants for pet birds". Research on safe
and poisonous plants for pet birds has been conducted primarily at Washington
State University and from isolated case reports. What has been tested in
humans, has not been tested in birds and there are many unknown factors with plant toxicity.
Are only certain parts of the plant poisonous? How much of a plant did a bird
ingest? Is the plant toxic to just one species of pet birds or is it toxic
to all species of pet birds? When keeping house plants and birds use
caution with plants that are not on any a safe or toxic plant list. Always keep
birds away from the soil which can contain mold spores and bacteria. (Safe
trees to use as safe wood for bird perches and bird toys, safe garden herbs for pet
birds and safe seeds from garden plants for pet birds are listed below the 2
Maiden Hair Fern
String of Beads
Birds Nest Fern
Bottle Brush Fern
Hens & Chickens
should not be confused with
Coffee Plants are toxic
Bird of Paradise
Four O' Clocks
Flowers from Bulbs
Star of Bethlehem
Lily of the Valley
Poison Ivy, Oak &
Safe Trees and Safe Wood for Bird Perches and Toys
Choose wood that has NOT been treated with pesticides or other chemicals. Choose
wood that is clean, free from visible mold, fungus, disease or rot spots. Safe
trees for bird perches and bird toys include Almond, Apple, Arbutus, Ash,
Aspen, Bamboo, Beech, Birch, Cottonwood, Crabapple, Dogwood, Elm, Fir,
Hazelnut, Palms, Pear, Pecan, Pine, Poplar, Hawthorne, Larch, Lilac,
Magnolia, Manzanita, Mimosa, Mulberry, Redwood, Willow.
To destroy mold, fungus, parasites and bacteria before using wood, soak all branches in a few gallons of water,
with 1 tablespoon of bleach, for 1 hour.
Rinse branches well with clean water. To dry small
branches, bake in a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 hour.
Dry large branches outdoors in direct sunlight.
Toxic Trees and Poisonous Wood for Bird Perches and Toys:
Cedar, Holly, Horse Chestnut, Oak, Red Maple, Sassafras, and Walnut. Trees from
the Prunus species include Apricot, peach, prune and nectarine and these are
also also toxic. Trees from the Prunus species can release cyanide if ingested by a bird. For more Safe and Toxic Trees, Click Here
Safe Garden Herbs for Pet Birds : Basil, Chamomile, Chicory,
Cilantro (another name for Coriander and Chinese Parsley), Dandelion, Dill,
Ginger Root, Fennel, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary,
Safe Seeds from Garden Plants: Canary Grass, Canola, Caraway, Echinacea, Flax, Hemp,
Millet (white proso and red) Nyjer, Pumpkin, Rape, Safflower, Sunflower, Thistle, Hemp, and Sesame.
Special thanks to all who shared
photographs of their birds with us!
Sources: Feeding Your Pet Bird, Dr. Petra
Burgmann, DVM; Caring for Your Pet Bird, Gary Gallerstein, DVM,
The Cockatiel Handbook, Matthew M. Vriends,PHD,
Cockatiels for Dummies, Diane Grindol, Cornell University, Department of Animal
Science Toxic Plant Database; Merck Veterinary Manual; University of California,
Exotic Bird Report; University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Science;
Purdue University Cooperative Extension,