Don’t Kiss your bird! PSITTACOSIS is a disease caused by the intracellular bacterium Chlamydia psittaci. It is zoonotic, which means it can be transmitted from birds to humans, and visa versa. Humans can inhale airborne particles or by handbling sick birds. Many birds have the disease but show no symptoms. Human symptoms are typically flu-like (fever, headache, muscle aches) that can lead to severe pneumonia and non-respiratory health problems and can occur about 5 to 14 days after incubation but can take up to a month to appear. In about 24 hours, infection happens, Within 48 hours, it is detectable in blood and at about 72 hours post infection, it can spread quickly. BIRDS symptoms vary, but can include trouble breathing, vomiting, bright green feces, neurological signs (tremors, twisting of head, body, neck). PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is the quickest and preferred method of detecting. Treatment is usually antibiotics.

Beware of the air pollution around your birds. Overheated Teflon pans, hair dryers, fryers, self-cleaning ovens, household cleaners, candles, aerosols, hair spray, perfume, essential oils, moth balls, room fresheners, “plug ins”, and especially cigarette smoke are some of the dangerous air pollution that can easily kill your birds. Home improvement projects also need to be done properly for your birds safety, like new carpet.

Be aware of noise pollution.

When your birds are out of their cage, they have been know to CHEW electrical cords, possible toxic baseboards and windowsills, and other objects containing toxic metals. They need to be constantly supervised. They can also fly into ceiling fans, stucco ceilings, mirrors, windows, walls, pest strips, toilet or sink water, hot stoves or hot food, Halogen lights are very hot and may burn your bird. Best to keep your birds out of the kitchen. Open windows or doors are an invitation to escape. Check your floor if they are out and out of sight so step carefully.

BIRD PROOF YOUR HOME from TOXIC foods and plants. Chocolate, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, peanuts (mold), parts of avocado, onions, garlic, fatty foods, fruit pits and seeds, artificially sweetened foods, fried foods, and salted foods are just some of the toxic foods. Some of the toxic plants are holly, poinsettia, mistletoe, daffodils, ivy, lilies, honeysuckle, and the morning glory plant. Keep human medications out of reach.

Have other pets? Other birds? You need to prevent injury due to any interactions by keeping an eye on your birds when other pets are around.

In placing your cage, you need to be aware of drafts, humidity, and too much heat or too cold. Also be sure that any chains, cups, and other openings are safe and secure. Leg bands are probably best removed as they have caught on items and injured their toes, feet, or legs.

Beware of falling asleep with your bird. You don’t want to crush them.

Having a party? Consider moving your bird to a quiet room for their protection.

Human saliva is not healthy for parrots either.

Keep a bird first aid kit and important emergency numbers like your vet and animal poison control center!