reminder: All articles and posts on my website are written by me and from my own perspective (Sophie The Pigeon) and often I'm typing it aimed at other birds 😉

Pigeon & Bird Articles – Everyday Household Dangers

There are many things which are considered just normal everyday things for (most) humans, but quite a few of those can actually be harmful or even very dangerous for us birds. In some cases these ‘everyday things’ can even be lethal for us birds. So if you want to make sure that nothing happens to you or your other bird buddies, then please make sure that your pet humans read this page carefully.

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Me and my pet humans do of course put a lot of effort in making sure that we are providing you with correct and complete information, but it is always possible that we have missed/forgotten some things, or that some information is incorrect or incomplete. After all I’m just a simple pigeon and they are just humans. So always make sure to do some additional research if you are unsure about certain topics or if you or your pet human(s) are having doubts about your safety. And always make your human consult a licensed veterinarian or specialist when it concerns your health and well-being.

Polytetrafluoroethylene belongs to a (sub)group of PFAS called fluorinated polymers where Polytetrafluoroethylene is by far the most popular and commonly used one in the group. Polytetrafluoroethylene is more commonly known as PTFE or Teflon® and is (simply explained) a common substance in or on many common household products. The most known use of Teflon®/PTFE is as non-stick coating in/on cookware. There are however much more product which have Teflon®/PTFE in them which could cause serious harm or death to birds. But before I list some of these products, I will first explain what happens to us birds if we get poisoned by Teflon®/PTFE fumes.

When heated to over 260-280℃ (500536℉), PTFE releases colorless (invisible), odorless particles and acidic gasses which are toxic when inhaled, because at those temperatures the Teflon® coating on non-stick coated cookware starts to breakdown. These fumes are already quite bad for humans, but they are very deadly to us birds!

The problem however is bigger than ‘just overheated cookware’, because there are unfortunately reported cases where birds have died due to the use of PTFE containing products at the recommend temperatures (and thus not overheating the PTFE/Teflon).

Signs of PTFE poisoning in birds may include: Lack or loss of coordination, wheezing, convulsions (spasms), seizures, open-beak breathing, ‘abnormal/unusual chirping’, short of breath or rapid breathing, laying on it’s side and can’t get up (also known as lateral recumbency), weakness and coma.

However in many cases sudden death of the bird occurs already before or shortly after any symptoms start to develop. Sometimes some initial (less noticeable) symptoms might occur like: Wobbling when trying to stand upright, the bird might appear ‘drowsy’/lethargic and slow(er) in response to calling or touching him/her.

If a bird is affected by PTFE fumes/poisoning it needs immediate veterinary care!

Preventing PTFE/Teflon® poisoning in birds

Me and my pet humans often read and hear “tips” to ‘just stay bellow the overheating temperature‘ of PTFE/Teflon® containing products to stay within safe levels for birds, but me and my pet humans (personally) do not agree to this “tip”. In our shared opinion it is just best that your humans do not use any PTFE/Teflon® containing products at all in your household. For cooking there are for example many alternatives to using non-stick cookware, like one of my pet humans always likes to say: “Just learn to cook properly, don’t burn your food and you won’t need non-stick cookware” 😉 But aside from that “joke”, there is also cookware which is much safer for birds like: Stainless steel, cast iron, glass and several others which are non toxic to us birds.

IMPORTANT NOTE: That the cookware of your pet humans is ‘bird safe’ doesn’t mean that the fumes from cooking itself can’t be harmful for us birds! There are all kinds of other fumes which can occur during cooking, like strong smells from spices and more of the alike. Best thing for us birds is not to be in the kitchen during cooking or just after your humans have cooked a meal.

Burning food(s), overheated cooking oils and more of the alike can all also cause lethal fumes to us birds. So your humans do need to realize that simply switching to ‘bird safe cookware’ alone, is not enough to ensure your absolute safety when it comes to cooking fumes.

Other products which often also contain PTFE/Teflon® and can be harmful for birds

I promised to also list some other products which contain or use PTFE coated components:
Sandwich makers, waffle irons, clothing irons, air fryers, deep (fat) fryers, gourmet sets, (electric) grills, ironing board covers, some electric heaters, some electric hairdryers, some heat lamps, some brands of microwave popcorn bags, (self cleaning) ovens, lots of 3D printers use PTFE tubbing (for low friction) and quite a few other products which have heating elements in them use PTFE parts. So ask your humans to be VERY careful when using products around you which (possibly) contain PTFE or Teflon®, especially if those products are heated/heating products!

Lots of humans prefer to use (electronic) air purifiers in their homes to (as the name suggests) purify the air in their home. This can either be for themselves, or with the best intent of providing clean(er) air for their bird friends.

However there are many air purifiers which use ionizing technology to purify the air. A byproduct of this ionization process is ozone, which is very harmful for us birds. It can seriously damage our lungs and even cause our death.

Same goes for ion hairbrushes and ionic hairdryers for example, those humans whom do use them probably recognize that distinctive smell they make when they are turned on? Well that is the ozone being emitted from the hairbrush or hairdryer. Also this ozone can (will) be harmful for us birds.

Bird safe air purifiers
There are air purifiers which are actually safe to use around us birds, these are mainly mechanical filtration air purifiers. It is strongly advised that your human(s) (extensively) research air purifiers before they are getting one. And if they already have one, it is recommended to leave it turned off until they are absolutely certain that it does not produce any harmful by-products for us birds like ozone!

Having an air purifier is not a bad idea for your human when living with birds
It’s definitely not an bad idea to have an air purifier in your home, it is for both you and your human(s) a good way to ensure an healthier air quality. However it is very important that your humans do their ‘homework’ thoroughly in regards to air purifiers and which ones are safe for you or not.

Some information to get your humans started: Air Purifiers article by BuffaloBirdNerd.Com and an article from

Again, Please do your own research
We are no experts in air purifiers, so nor me or my pet humans will make any recommendations in regards to what type, brand or what kind of air purifier your humans should get (or not). But we did thought this was some important (well crucial actually) information to include in my Everyday Household Dangers section.

Lead poisoning

Lead is something which is commonly found in and around your humans house, and maybe even in/on your cage!

Because lead is quite soft many birds (and sometimes pigeons also) like to chew on it, and chewed off parts are easily ingested by us birds. Unfortunately lead is very poisonous to us birds.

Lead can be found in many items in and around the house including but not limited to:
Solder joints of your cage, curtain or tablecloth weights, batteries (already a danger on it’s own when swallowed!), stained glass or Came Glasswork (including Tiffany Lamps), zipper teeth, certain types of jewellery or decorations, air riffle pellets (the copper BB’s are also a serious threat to us birds!), (vintage) painted toys, (older) paint, (cheaper or older) toy jewelry, makeup/cosmetics (especially older makeup, low quality makeup and makeup imported from non-regulated regions!), fishing weights and much more products contain lead or lead parts which pose a serious threat to us birds.

Symptoms of lead (or heavy metal poisoning) might be (but not limited to):

  • Seizures
  • Constant thirst
  • Loss of coordination
  • Instability
  • Signs of weakness or depression
  • Regurgitation of water (“vomiting” water)
  • Runny green pooping
  • Tremors
  • Death 

If your human has any suspicion that you have contracted lead poisoning, he or she should seek immediate veterinarian care for you!

Zinc Poisoning

Zinc poisoning is also a serious concern for us birds. The main exposure risk to zinc for us birds is through our cage actually! In a process called galvanization, zinc is being applied as a protective coating to steel or iron to prevent rusting. This is commonly seen in or on bird cages. Birds which are prone to chew on their cage have a high risk of zinc poisoning due to this.

Some of the symptoms of Zinc poisoning are: seizures, weakness, weight loss, lots of urine in the droppings, anemia and more.

Luckily us pigeons generally don’t tend to chew on our cages, but if your human notices you (as a pigeon) chewing on your cage, and your cage turns our to contain zinc, it is strongly advised that your human replaces your cage as soon as possible.

Products which contain zinc and should definitely be avoided are for example galvanized hot-dipped metal feeding or drinking bowls etc! These will (slowly) poison us pigeons (and other birds)!

Example of hot-dipped galvanization containing zinc
Galvanized steel or metal which has been Hot-dipped with a Zinc coating

Products which are ‘hot-dipped’ galvanized with zinc can often be recognized by a pattern looking like the pattern illustrated by this image.

More information and some extra photo’s for comparison can be found on this wiki article.

Again: Please do not use any products for birds which contain this type of metal when they come in contact with their water or food for example, EVER

Even my nighttime cage later on (when arriving home and unboxing it) turned out to be hot-dipped galvanized zinc plated! While when my pet humans asked in the pet store if it was a safe cage, which would be free of toxic paint, free of zinc or lead etc, they did (3 employees actually!) all say “Yes, this cage is 100% animal and bird safe“.

So DO NOT just trust ‘pet store employees’ blindly! We know it sounds harsh, but in the end most of them are just there to ‘sell stuff’. Of course there are also (plenty of) good and caring people in those stores, but some don’t even know about these dangers either!

So this obviously meant that my night-time-cage got returned and a different model was purchased.

Follow up information about Zinc
Despite it being mainly about parrots, this page is a very good source of information to follow up on in regards to zinc poisoning in birds.

If your human has any suspicion that you have contracted zinc poisoning, he or she should seek immediate veterinarian care for you!

Air fresheners, deodorants & perfumes (also if your human puts them on in another room!) and hairspray can (and will) cause serious respiratory issues for us birds. When exposed to these (for humans everyday) products it may cause difficulties breathing and can cause severe inflammation for us birds.

After larger, direct or longer exposures even death can occur for us birds.

A better alternative for humans which live with pet birds is to use roll-on deodorants instead of aerosol deodorants.

Humans should also avoid using any other aerosol sprays within their homes when living together with birds.

Not really ‘Everyday Household’ but there are still many people whom smoke, and it’s fine if they want to do that, it’s their choice and life of course. No judgement there so far. However when humans smoke inside the house with us birds around, it is very bad for our lungs and well being. Not only does the smoke directly affect our respiratory system, the nicotine which gets ‘all over the place’ is also very toxic to us birds. We absorb nicotine very easily through our skin, feet and feathers. Nicotine poisoning is a very serious issue for us birds.

Secondhand Smoke and Birds
And so is secondhand smoke, some problems which secondhand smoke can cause for us birds are (but not limited to): Problems breathing, vomiting, lung cancer, irregular heartbeats, respiratory paralysis, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, pneumonia and much more. This also goes for vapors from vaporizers! (vapes)

Nicotine on human hands and even on clothing affects us birds
Even if your humans smoke outside, the nicotine on their hands can (and will) seriously affect us birds. When we are handled, picked up, ‘perch on their fingers’ and more of the alike, we birds will absorb this nicotine and develop nicotine poisoning sooner or later. So if your pet human smokes (outside!), make sure he or she washes (scrubs) his or her hands thoroughly with soap and water prior to letting them handle you! When our precious little feet are exposed to nicotine we have a high risk of developing dermatitis on our feet.

Also make sure that they dispose all cigarette buds far away from our curious beaks, because if we accidentally mistaken one of these cigarette butts as a tasty snack we can die within even 15 to 30 minutes when ingesting nicotine!

Signs for us birds of nicotine poisoning are (but not limited to): twitching, seizures, vomiting, drooling and more and often resulting in death.

Ingesting Tobacco
When us birds accidentally mistaken a piece of (fallen) tobacco for a tasty snack or seed and ingest it, it is just as toxic as the nicotine issues as I have pecked out above. A sign which often occurs when one of us birds has ingested tobacco is excessive vomiting.

Breath after smoking and kisses from or to your pet human
Even if your pet human washes his or her hands thoroughly after smoking (outside), he or she should still keep in mind that his or her breath will (strongly) smell for us birds due to smoking. If he or she wants to give us kisses on our heads, feathers etc. their lips will contain nicotine after smoking which can (will) get transferred to our feathers if they kiss us. Same goes for if your human lets us birds give him or her kisses (preening their face/lips) after smoking, this can/will also cause nicotine transfer after your human has smoked.

Secondhand smoke of weed (or any other drugs)
This should obviously already be a no-brainer: DO NOT let your pet humans expose you to secondhand smoke of weed or any other drug! Our respiratory and small bodies (aside from the smoke itself already) are MUCH more susceptible to the effects of these drugs than humans are. And the fact that us birds don’t even know what is happens when we ‘get high’, can cause so much panic, anxiety and stress that we can literally ‘stress or scare ourselves to death’!

Smoking in another room does not count as ‘safely away from the bird(s)’
Like the title of this paragraph already states, it does not count as ‘safe for the bird’ if your human(s) just smoke in another room than you are in. This because smoke travels, and even when humans can’t see the smoke anymore, it is still present in the air in much smaller particles and thus still harmful for us birds and our lungs.

Other pets could pose a potential and serious risk to us birds. Some examples (but not limited to) of other pets which could pose a serious threat to us birds are: Dogs, cats, snakes and other reptiles and several other pets have natural hunting instincts. We birds may fall victim for these instincts and might even have to pay for it with our lives.

So if your pet human has other pets or animal companions living with you in the same house, it is very important that they are supervising you and the other animal companions at all times.

Even if your pet human thinks “Ow our dog or cat has been best buddies with our pigeon for over four years now, it’s all fine“, it can still go wrong in a split second. It could not even be intentional and just meant as ‘playful’ from a cat or dog, but these animals can seriously harm us birds. Aside from that: saliva from other animals can also contain (very) harmful bacteria for us birds!

WARNING: The following section describes a true story about a cat and dog which had been living together for nearly a decade before it went horrifically wrong. This part does NOT include ‘gross details’, but if you think you don’t want to read such an example story, or that you can’t handle reading it, then please skip the rest of this section!

A “perfect” but very unfortunate example of “it going wrong in a split second”, was many years ago with the grandma of one of my pet humans, one of her dogs and one of her cats. They had lived together just fine without any issues (ever) for over 9 years. And suddenly the dog (a Bouvier des Flandres) decided to bite one of the cats with full force in it’s head without any reason while it was just passing by.

Luckily the cat did survived, but it was a truly horrific scene which did require immediate emergency surgery for the cat, and the cat unfortunately lost one of it’s eyes due to this incident. This incident permanently scarred the cat both physically and mentally. The cat was never the same again after this day. And the dog? Well after this incident nothing like it ever happened again till it passed away several years later.

And to be ahead of comments, remarks or remote/internet-diagnosticians:
This particular dog did not had any medical issues explaining this behavior. It has been examined by several specialists after this event, to make sure that there was nothing wrong with the dog medically or that it would not happen again. They all said it either “just” had a bad mood, that the cat possibly startled the dog while it was dreaming (and thus instinct kicked in) or that it was just a “one time quirk“.

So no, it is not safe to assume that “it has been going well for years already anyways“.

ALWAYS make sure that your human(s) supervise smaller and more vulnerable animals like us birds around other pets/animal companions.

Please make sure that your humans of course also read all other sections because this is just a small section to bring a bit more awareness to potentially dangerous (to us birds) decorational pieces in their homes.

There could be a lot of different decorational pieces in our homes, including but not limited to: Wooden ornaments/statues, plaster statues, paintings, fake plants, (thin) glass ornaments, (salt) stone decorational pieces, (hot) lamps and more.

Many of these items can pose a serious risk for us birds. They could contain poisonous materials like metals or paint or anything a like. You humans should ensure that such (to us birds) dangerous items are out of reach for us at all times.

Another example is a seemingly harmless item like salt lamps. Those are made of ‘salt rocks’, and just like for humans, too much salt can be very dangerous to us birds. And even the slightest bit of salt can already be too much for some of us. So me and my pet humans would strongly advice against using or displaying such ‘ornaments’ if we birds would be able to get to them. In the case of Salt Lamps (also known as Himalayan (Salt) lamps), us ‘pecking off’ just ‘one small portion’ and ingesting it, could cause serious issues or even be fatal.

Please ensure that your pet humans are aware that many makeup products are very toxic for us birds if we inhale, ingest or even touch them! It is not really that easy to make a list of symptoms and such for the general ‘category makeup‘ because it really depends on what ingredients there are in the makeup product(s), how we birds get into contact with it etc.

Nail polish for example is toxic to us when ingested (for example if we nibble on our human’s fingers), but also the fumes of nail polish when applied or the fumes of nail polish remover are highly toxic/dangerous to us birds.

But also ‘non fuming’ makeup can be highly toxic for us birds, for example when our pet humans have applied it to their faces (to look prettier with pretty colors like our feathers 😛 ), and we accidentally ingest it when kindly preening them. Or when they (still) have a bit of makeup on their fingers and they are touching us or our food.

Best thing for your humans is to just avoid any (toxic) makeup near us at all time.

Products like new carpeting, roller blinds etc often give off a very strong and distinctive smell, most humans reading this know what I’m talking about.

Well did your pet humans actually knew that these smells can be very toxic to us birds? And at the very least can cause serious irritation, inflammation or respiratory issues for us birds?

So make sure they are aware that they need to take this into account when they are redecorating their home. Especially since these smells (and thus fumes for us birds) can remain for quite some time after the carpet for example has been installed)

NOTE: This does not only concern new carpets, but many products which give off such strong odors and/or ‘factory fumes’.

We birds do understand that you humans do need to perform some construction or renovation work on your homes from time to time, just like we need to on our own nests.

However it is very important that us birds should not be exposed to ANY fumes or dust caused by renovations! Lots of those dusts and fumes can and will be highly toxic, cause respiratory issues or even be deadly for us birds!

It would be best to remove us from your home (and arrange an ‘sleepover’ at a family member or friend which knows how to properly take care of birds) until the construction or renovation is done and everything has been very well ventilated/aired-out.

Many paints, glues or other construction materials might still off-gas highly toxic fumes for us birds which can in some cases last for days, weeks or even months after you’re done working with them. So please make sure that you humans do a good amount of research about the materials used to ensure a safe environment for us birds to return home to.

Most glue and paint vapors are highly toxic to us birds. Most humans will already understand this because some of these products can already cause headaches or respiratory issues for them, but what most humans do not know is that lots of these products (even if initially used safely and far away from us birds) can still ‘off-gas’ dangerous fumes for us birds for days, weeks or even months!

It is hard to give exact symptoms and/or issues related to this ‘general category’ but some of the symptoms might include (but not limited to): Vomiting, loss of balance, respiratory issues, twitches and even death.

Aside from the dangers of open fire to us birds there are also less visible dangers when it comes to candles and fireplaces to us birds. Both scented candles and paraffin wax candles produce volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs, These VOCs go ‘airborne’ and can have severe negative effects on us birds. Issues which we can get from these fumes are (but not limited to): Twitching, respiratory system problems, loss of coordination, Wobbling when trying to stand upright/ instability while standing and more.

This also goes for a lot of other products like potpourri, incense burners (either ‘sticks’ or oils), plug-in oil diffusers/burners and more products like this. These can (and will) often cause serious health and/or respiratory system problems for us birds, and can unfortunately even result in death. In the “least serious situation” they will at-least cause serious irritation or discomfort for us birds, and I’m assuming that you humans don’t want to do that to us birds right 😉 ?

There are however candles which are safe for us birds (aside from the open fire of course)
Soy and beeswax candles are much safer and much less toxic for us birds, they are however quite a bit more expensive than regular paraffin candles.

Same goes for smoke produced by fireplaces, if your pet humans have an fireplace in their home, it is very important that it is impossible for you as bird that you can inhale smoke coming from the fireplace. For example by using a closed fireplace system or one which has a very good exhaust system. However to be on the safe side, it is recommended to just not use a fireplace near us birds. Even if your pet human has a very good fireplace which does not expose you to smoke or fumes when it’s used, it is still very important that it absolutely impossible for us birds to accidentally fly into the fire or burn ourselves on the covers or grills of the fireplace.

Burning food(s), overheated cooking oils and more of the alike can all also cause lethal fumes to us birds. So your humans do need to realize that simply switching to ‘bird safe cookware’ alone, is not enough to ensure your absolute safety when it comes to cooking fumes.

Humans often use disinfectants or other cleaning products (and of course this is necessary from time to time), but when used in a home with birds, it is very important that humans use them with great care. Many popular cleaning agents like bleach release toxic fumes, these fumes are already bad for humans. But for us birds they are even much much more harmful and sometimes even deadly.

When your human needs to use any type of cleaning product, then it is of utmost importance that they are used with proper ventilation and that we birds are not in the same room. Sometimes humans also use a (diluted) bleach solution to clean our cages, if your humans do this it is VERY important that you are not near or in your cage, and not even in the same room. IF your human(s) insist on using bleach for your cage, then me and my humans would recommend that they make absolutely certain that your cage is completely dry and rinsed very well after they are done cleaning, so that no residue is left behind. And we would also like to recommend that you don’t enter your cage for at-least four hours to prevent any residual fumes entering your birdie lungs.

We strongly advise against using bleach, ammonia etc (to clean your cage)

Me and my humans are however against using bleach, ammonia etc for cleaning cages. We would instead like to recommend the use of other solutions which are non toxic to us birds. Some other natural options are for example: Vinegar & water, baking soda & water or boiling-hot water or steam. Some humans prefer to use a mild unscented soap like dish-washing liquid, which is of course “100 times” better than bleach or ammonia, and this is also an valid option. It is however again very important that the cage is rinsed very well afterwards and that your human dries your cage properly. But we yet again would still recommend to use one of the mentioned natural solutions instead.

Does not apply only to cage cleaning

Please make sure that your humans understand that these warnings do not only apply to cleaning your cage! It for example also applies to when they are cleaning their own furniture, floors or other human possessions which they have dragged into their massive human nest-box.

Fabric softeners and such

It’s also important to note that any other scented products like for example (but not limited to) fabric softeners can also produce toxic fumes for us birds. So it would for example be a terrible idea to put our cages in the same room where your humans hang laundry to dry. Obviously it’s even better if your humans avoid such products all-together when they are living with us birds in one house. But if that’s not an option, then they do need to make sure that we are nowhere near the strong smells and fumes produced by such products and/or cleaning agents.

An often overlooked danger to us birds is water containers, this includes as the title of this chapter states for example buckets with water, sinks, bathtubs, toilets, aquariums and more. We birds are often just curious to check out the ‘cool new bath’ we just found, but in most of these containers it is unfortunately very easy for us birds to drown in them.

Many birds (including but not limited to pigeons, budgies, parrots, crows etc) can’t swim at all, and are very likely to drown if they fall into things like a toilet, bucket, bathtub, sink or aquarium when they can’t get out quickly enough. Not even to mention what would happen to us birds if we fall in a water solution which has (to us) toxic chemicals or soap in them 😱. “Household waters” which often have such chemicals or soaps in them are toilets (due to toilet blocks), bathtubs, buckets with (cleaning) water and sinks.

It is very important that your humans never leaves buckets of (cleaning) water, sinks with (dish-washing)water or other open sources of water unattended around us birds.

Glasses or mugs with drinks in them
For us larger birds (like pigeons), glasses and mugs with drinks aren’t as much of a threat as they would be to smaller birds in regards of drowning in them, but they can still pose a serious threat around us. Budgies or other smaller birds like that are actually prone to drown in human beverages! So your humans do need to pay attention to this.

But it’s not only the drowning hazard when it comes to human beverages, there is also a chance that us birds might actually (try to) drink from your human’s beverages when we encounter their glass or mug. And many beverages which are okay to drink for humans, can be very bad or even toxic for us bird. Not even to mention beverages which are (extremely) hot. Some humans like to drink hot beverages like coffee, tea, hot chocolate or anything else, these beverages pose a serious risk to us birds (all of us) in regards of severely burning ourselves.

Most indoor birds (which humans often call pets or pet birds) have not learned to survive in the big open scary world. Which means that most of us don’t know how to find food and (safe) drinking water, that we don’t know how to handle (or shelter from) harsh weather like heavy rain or (windy) storms, and most of us don’t know how to evade predators either. Heck some of us will for example even think something is perfectly safe due to the fact that we’re used to it (like humans), and approach them randomly.

Unfortunately lots of indoor birds which accidentally get outside can’t make their way back home anymore or might even die due to not being able to ‘being a wild bird’.

So please make sure that your humans keep all doors and windows safely closed for you.

Clipping wings

Some humans (and other websites) suggest that we should have our wings clipped, but me and my pet humans do not agree to this at all to be honest (at least not for pigeons). We are of opinion that birds that are kept indoors should be able to fly freely as they please. My pet humans even said (and please note that this is their personal opinion!): “We feel like if you can’t have a bird (or birds) flying around your house freely and safely, then you should not keep birds at all“. And I as bird do agree to this to be honest, we are meant to fly and it’s even an important aspect of our life and daily exercise. There are obviously exceptions to this, but in general we think you should not clip us birds.

NOTE: Birds with clipped wings CAN still fly, however often for much shorter distances and it takes much more effort for them to actually fly.

Birds with homing ability

There are of course also birds with ‘homing ability’, which basically means that they are actually able to find their way back home on their own (like many but not all pigeon breeds for example). That these birds do have homing ability does however not protect them from predators outside. And even if you are a homing pigeon (or racer pigeon), there is still no absolute guarantee that you will actually make it back home when expected. There is even a story about a racer (homing) pigeon whom returned after 15 years which you can read about here on

So please fellow birds (and humans), please please please be very careful with going outside, and make sure that your humans keeps windows and doors (safely) closed for us birds.

Closed windows and mirrors can also be a very serious and dangerous threat to us birds. We often don’t understand the concept of glass or mirrors. To most of us birds there is nothing solid at the location of the window or mirror, we either just see it as ‘another area’ to fly to, or we see the reflection and think we have much more room (‘airtime’) before we would collide into something.

My experience with windows

I (Sophie The Pigeon) understand the concept of windows quite well in my humans home by now, and most of the time it goes very well. I don’t fly into them at all, but sometimes when I’m perching in front of one of the windows, I do tend to forget that the window is actually there, and jump into it (luckily this doesn’t hurt me though, it just startles me). But this is one of the reasons why my humans are always supervising me when I want to look outside, or they even do this together with me when I’m perching on one of their hands (those strange things with those five moving branches at the end of their thicker branches). Large (bathroom) mirrors however do keep confusing the peck out of me, so my humans always kindly cover them when I’m having my bath or spa day in the bathroom 🙂

Some tips for humans to make windows safe(r) for birds

There are some ways to make windows safer for us indoor birds, like for example putting stickers on the windows, hanging window blinds in front of them or (see through) curtains, so that us birds can see that it is not a ‘free passage’.

Your pet humans do need to keep in mind that if they have large windows, that ‘just one or two stickers’ often is not enough. If some of us birds feel like we could easily fit/fly between those obstacles (the stickers), we will still collide into the window.

Serious injuries or even death

When us birds fly into windows it can cause serious issues like (but not limited to): Broken wings, broken and/or bruised beaks, head trauma, internal bleeding or even worse: a broken neck! So please make sure that your humans pay attention to you and their windows.

Some birds do just fine with windows

Indeed, some birds do just fine with windows, and even gotten a wonderful ‘window perch’ from their humans so that they can actually sit at/ “on” the window to look outside. Windows however are something which should not be taken lightly when we birds fly freely through the houses of our pet humans. And even if a bird seems ‘perfectly windows trained’ so to speak, do keep in mind that if that particular bird gets spooked by something suddenly and unexpectedly, that he or she still (out of instinct) might try to flee through the window.

Windows at home vs other places

Another very important aspect which should be taken into consideration, is that if a certain bird ‘perfectly well’ knows where the windows are in it’s own home, that this still does not mean that he or she knows what or where the windows are when he or she is visiting other buildings like stores or homes of family members of it’s pet humans.

TIP: I’ve designed some safety stickers

I have designed some (quite a few actually) safety stickers which you can use in your home to alert (other) humans that we birds are freely roaming the house. These stickers include trample warnings, desk chair warnings, opening doors warnings and more. I have made these stickers for several different bird types (NOT just pigeons), and also for both genders and for multiple birds 🙂 Check out my collection to see if there are stickers which would be suited for you and your humans. Note: These stickers are sold via our merchandise producer and are 100% non profit.

Lots of humans would most likely already have thought about the dangers of exterior doors and windows, but another very serious danger to us birds are interior doors! This is especially a very serious concern for birds whom like to wander around on the floor a lot (like us pigeons for example).

Especially us pigeons (but also many other birds) have the habit to just lay down or sit at the most awkward locations (well for humans at least 😛 ), and I myself for example often find “awesome spots” to ‘chill out and relax’ directly behind interior doors. And if a human would then fast and suddenly open that door, it could cause very serious injuries (or even death) to me or other birds which have this behavior. It could for example seriously wound (break) our legs or feet.

Even if you are a bird which (usually) does not lay down or sit behind doors, it is still possible that you are just walking past a (closed) interior door while a human opens it too fast which yet again could cause serious harm or death to you.

Another problem (which almost happened to me! ) with (open) interior doors is that they are perfect perches for us birds to observe everything from ‘up high’. While this in essence isn’t a problem on it’s on, it does pose a serious issue when a door on which we are perching suddenly ‘slams shut’ (either by the action of a human, or even due to draft caused by opening an exterior door for example). And the latter is exactly what (almost) happened to me! I was nicely perching on the office door when one of the humans in my home opened the front door for our (very friendly and nice) mailman, which caused a draft which could have suddenly slammed the door shut on which I was perching. If this would have happened I would at the very least have lost a couple of my toes 😱!

But my humans where prepared for this so they took precautions
Luckily my pet humans where already aware of this possible danger, and they are using two doorstops on open doors I’m perching on, to prevent that it accidentally slams shut (due to drafts) while I’m perching on it or when I’m sitting between the door frame and door itself (‘in the door frame).

A handy tip from my pet humans
You could place stickers, a printed sign or anything alike to warn people (and potential visitors) on the interior doors which pose a risk, that they need to open and close interior doors slowly and that they need to be aware or pay attention to where the birds are.

TIP: I’ve designed some safety stickers
I have designed some (quite a few actually) safety stickers which you can use in your home to alert (other) humans that we birds are freely roaming the house. These stickers include trample warnings, desk chair warnings, opening doors warnings and more. I have made these stickers for several different bird types (NOT just pigeons), and also for both genders and for multiple birds 🙂 Check out my collection to see if there are stickers which would be suited for you and your humans. Note: These stickers are sold via our merchandise producer and are 100% non profit.

Ceiling fans

Let’s just get this out of the way directly:
Ceiling fans are a no go when us birds are flying around in the room! Period and no discussion possible here.

Ceiling fans have killed (and will unfortunately keep killing) many birds, we birds often just don’t see the spinning blades and fly right into them. Even at “low” speeds these open ceiling fans will be bird killers in most cases. So just do not let your humans use them at all when you are flying around in the room. Not if your wings are clipped either (some sites suggest that you can’t fly into them with clipped wings, but you CAN still fly into them with clipped wings)!

Even if you are in your (closed/locked) cage, ceiling fans could still pose a serious health risk for you depending on the placement of your cage and the ceiling fan. This due to the possible (constant) draft it can generate in your cage, but more about that a bit further in this section about fans.

Desk fans/coolers and draft

Desk fans (assuming they have a safe housing on them, and they are not ‘open blade’ fans!) can in general be ‘safe to use’ around us birds. However your humans do need to take somethings into consideration before using a desk fan around you.

Despite that many websites will tell you and your humans that drafts will kill you or other birds, this is not true. At least not as it’s often put as simple as: Draft = dead (or at least extremely sick) bird.

We birds (especially pigeons, which do not migrate during winter either) do fine with winds and drafts outside, and we do know very well how to ‘shelter’ ourselves from such winds or drafts if we need to. We for example use trees to ‘break the wind’ and partially ‘shelter’ ourselves from winds/drafts.

And this is exactly where it can go wrong: Humans (with their best intent) trying to help cool us down by putting a fan (often very close or on high speed) directly in front of our cage aimed at us. This is when it can go wrong because we need to be able to find a comfortable spot within the draft, outside of the draft or a ‘sweet-spot’ in between. If we birds get a loud and fast blowing fan pointed at us with no way of getting out of it’s wind/draft, we can get stressed out for example.

Humans would most likely not like it either when we would get a fan about 20 times the size of their own head and point it directly at their face at full speed 😉 So don’t do this to us birds either 🙂

Contrary to popular believe, we birds do not get a cold from drafts, this is actually a myth
It can however stress our immune system if we experience rapid changes in temperature from hot to cold and vice versa, and this also why it is not healthy if we would be placed in a constant direct airflow which is too hot or too cold. This would for example happen if we would be placed directly beneath an air vent or if we’re put directly in front of a fan or air-conditioner.

Some sources to back-up my statement about this ‘draft issue causing a cold’ being a myth (because still a lot of people believe this will cause a cold actually): VCA Animal Hospitals, Birds & More .com and

How to use a desk fan (more) safely around us birds
There are a couple of things which your human(s) should consider when using a desk fan near you:

  • Foremost they need to ensure that the ‘grill’ which houses the blades has a mesh which is ‘dense enough’ so that you can’t stick your claws, beak or anything else through it.
  • It is very important that your humans ensure that the fan is not directly pointed at you or your cage (especially if you can’t get out if you want or need to get out of the draft).
  • That the fan is set to a low/normal speed to have a ‘normal’ air circulation, it’s not necessary for your humans to create a ‘wind tunnel’ for you.
  • If you are flying freely around the room, you should be able to have/find a spot where you can decide to sit if you want (or need) to get out of the ‘draft’ generated by the fan at all times!
  • If you are in your cage, then your human could consider covering the side of your cage where the fan draft is coming from with a towel to ‘break the draft’ (still do not let your human aim the fan directly at your cage though!).
  • If you are wet (or even completely soaked) because you have just taken a bath, you should not be placed in a draft at all.

So in general it is quite safe for your humans to use a desk fan in the same room as you are in, as long as they are using commonsense and they not making a ‘wind tunnel test subject’ out of you 😉

Air vents

Air vents in your human’s home are generally fine to use, as long as they apply the same “rules” as I’ve explained about placement of you and their desk fans.

Air-conditioners and birds

For ceiling fans, desk fans, vents and drafts the answers are quite ‘straightforward’. For air-conditioners this can however be a whole different story. There are many different air conditioner types and systems, and depending which air conditioner system you pet human has, what quality the air conditioner is and how it is maintained properly, can all play a major role in the safety of it’s use around birds like you and me.

Of course for air conditioners the same applies as for desk fans and vents: Birds should not be placed directly in the ‘air stream’ of the air conditioner.

Humidity and air conditioners
It is for example commonly known that air conditioners can (significantly) lower the humidity of the room(s) they are used in, and low humidity can actually cause (serious) issues for us birds. So it is important that your pet human(s) monitor the humidity levels when using an air conditioner around you.

Replacing the air conditioner filters on time
It is also very important that the air conditioner filters are maintained properly and replaced regularly to prevent mold buildup in them. This would already be unhealthy for humans, but we birds are even more susceptible for such issues and air quality problems.

Large and sudden temperature changes due to air conditioners
Your pet humans should also keep in mind that air conditioners can actually cause large and sudden changes in temperature for you, which is something which could actually be unhealthy for us birds.

Let your human(s) research their (own) air conditioner prior to using it with you in the room
To know for sure if the particular air conditioner which your human has is safe to use around you, me and my pet humans would strongly recommend that your human would research his or her air conditioning system in regards to ‘bird safety’ before they start using it around you. Most of the time (when keeping the ‘general rules’ in mind) it would be ‘just fine’, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Despite the fact that many of us birds are excellent flyers, sometimes we are just a bit too excited (or even just have a clumsy day), and then there is a chance that we strike some objects, walls or even the ceiling with our head or wings.

If your humans have (or think about getting) textured or stucco ceilings (which are ceilings with a rougher looking and feeling texture), they do need to realize that these ceilings can act like sandpaper on our heads and wings due to the high speeds we fly at.

It is best for us birds to not be allowed in rooms which have rough textured or stucco ceilings, or that your humans might consider to replace the ceiling with something more safe to us birds 🙂

Electrical cords can be a very serious danger to us birds and even the homes of our humans when we birds are living together with them in one home. Simply because many birds love to chew on wires, ‘yank on them’ as toy or even might try to take them with us as nesting material.

For us pigeons the risk of chewing on such wires is significantly lower than for some other birds (like parrots for example) but definitely not zero. I for example love to drag around (unplugged!) phone charger cables when I find them (although my humans always seem to want them back 🤷‍♀️).

When we birds would chew through some of these wires we expose ourselves to a serious risk of electrocution or even starting a massive fire due to short circuiting wires. When we birds accidentally electrocute ourselves, this can cause serious burns, nerve damage or even result in death.

Therefor it is very important that your humans put away electrical cords as much as possible, and unplug ones that they are not actively using at the moment.

Getting Entangled in electrical cords or ingesting pieces of them

Next to the risks of electrocution or starting a fire, there are also other risks with electrical cords for us birds. We could for example get entangled in them and panic, or we could accidentally chew off toxic parts like rubber/insulation, or we might even ingest pieces of copper wire.

I myself really enjoy loud noises (to a certain limit obviously!), they even excite me and trigger me to go and take a look what’s going on. Often it even means that my humans are doing something cool like unpacking packages which means they are going to play with me and the packaging materials for a while 😍.

I don’t get scared of (sudden) loud noises like a drill, coffee machine or other loud machines like vacuum cleaners. Heck, I even LOVE to jump onto the robot vacuum cleaner and use it as my personal taxi device thingy while it ‘races’ through the house.

BUT… I also do have the option (at all times) to leave the area on my own accord when I feel like the noise levels are becoming too much for me or are continuing for too long so that they start to annoy me. If my pet humans however expecting that they are going to make certain loud noises which are to loud or annoying for me, they often kindly take me to my bedroom until they are done 🙂

And despite I don’t mind loud noises and even like them (get happily triggered by them), some birds might become very stressed from them, and stress is very bad for birds.

So it’s very important for your humans to limit the noise levels and duration of loud noises to a level which is acceptable for us birds. Obviously every bird is different, and every bird responds differently to audio stimulation and ‘noise pollution’ as it’s called with a fancy word. So it’s best that your human keeps an close eye on you when there is ‘noise pollution’ going on near you.

Next to this it is also very important that your humans give you an option to ‘flee’ the loud/noisy area whenever you please to do so, to limit your stress levels as much as possible.

It should be needless to say, but your humans should also try to limit loud noises to the hours which you are awake, so that you do have the opportunity to rest well at night.

This should almost be needles to be posted here, but unfortunately there still happen a lot of accidents with pet birds, hot surfaces and hot liquids due to their humans not paying attention.

Us birds should be protected against or kept away from hot surfaces and liquids at all times!

A small accident like us landing or jumping accidentally on or in a hot stove, (open) oven, cookware, waffle irons, frying pan, clothing iron, hair straighteners, hot glue guns, hot (interior) lights and more of the alike happens more often than most people would imagine.

Other often overlooked issue concerning hot surfaces and us birds potentially burning our precious little feet or more, are hot dashboards or fabrics in cars when we are on a road-trip with our humans. Just make sure that your human realizes that if it’s uncomfortably hot to them, that it most likely also is for us and that we don’t want (or can’t) be on that surface.

Ow and since we’re talking about cars and heat now anyway:
DO NOT leave us birds in your cars unattended humans! It unfortunately already happens way too often with dogs and even human children, but also for us birds this can be deadly!

Not really a direct “Everyday Household Danger” but my pet humans wanted to put this one in here anyway.

Not everyone is on the same level if for example menthol toothpaste breath (from a human) would be harmful for our respiratory system. Some people even think it might actually be ‘clearing’ our respiratory system due to the menthol for example.

but let me just put it this way:
Most of you humans do know how it feels when another human suddenly breaths into your face or eyes with a ‘sharp smelling breath’ from toothpaste, mints or other things like that. It often burns your human eyes right?

Well my humans (and two vets) think this might be the same for us birds, and therefor my pet humans and both vets whom they have asked (especially for this article), agree with saying: “Just prevent it around us birds, better safe than sorry“.

So humans, please keep this in mind when you kindly want to kiss us birds goodnight once more before we’re going to bed after brushing your teeth 🙂

A very serious risk for us birds (not only us pigeons, but also many other (smaller) birds), is that we are at risk of being stepped on by humans whom are not aware that we are walking around the room.

I (Sophie) don’t intend to insult any humans, but I’m just being very honest here: You humans are VERY heavy to us birds! And there would not be many of us birds whom would survive if one of you humans stepped on us 🙁 .

So PLEASE make sure that you humans are always paying extra attention when walking around the room or when taking a step backwards to see if you are not accidentally stepping on one of us.

Very directly put: If you humans accidentally step on us birds, you are very likely to kill us.

Accidentally Sitting on us birds
This problem is less common (but not impossible though) for us pigeons, but is a much more serious concern for our smaller friends like budgies for example. They often like to hide behind (or even under) pillows and more of the alike. And if you humans would then ‘just randomly’ sit-down without actually being aware of where we birds are, chances are that you accidentally sit on us and crush us. And not to be rude (again), but for sitting on us the same applies as for stepping on us: You humans are VERY heavy to us birds.

You humans need to be very careful when walking around the room, taking a step backwards or when sitting down randomly if we birds are (or could be) in the same room!

TIP: I’ve designed some safety stickers
I have designed some (quite a few actually) safety stickers which you can use in your home to alert (other) humans that we birds are freely roaming the house. These stickers include trample warnings, desk chair warnings, opening doors warnings and more. I have made these stickers for several different bird types (NOT just pigeons), and also for both genders and for multiple birds 🙂 Check out my collection to see if there are stickers which would be suited for you and your humans. Note: These stickers are sold via our merchandise producer and are 100% non profit.

Those strings or cords hanging from window blinds (which humans often use to adjust the blinds), can literally become a ‘hangman’s noose‘ for us birds. For us pigeons this is not as much of a risk as it could be for budgies for example (which like to climb and hang on those strings), but these strings and/or cords can pose a serious threat to all of us birds.

It doesn’t (seem to) happen often, but there are some ‘stories out there’, which describe that there have been birds whom got entangled in these cords and hung themselves to death accidentally. There are many known (and verified) news stories where even human children accidentally hung (and killed) themselves with blinds cords, so why take the risk with us birds or other animal companions (pets)?

Me and my pet humans would recommend to look into making your human’s blind cords ‘toddler safe’ if your human thinks or feels that their window blind cords might pose a threat to us birds being in their home.

Better safe than sorry.

Lots of humans like to use desk chairs, also known as ‘office chairs’, which have those wheels on them. And sure they are very handy dandy if you humans want to get away from your cool YouTube and cute animal video’s machine which you call a computer…

But there is also a downside to these chairs if you humans don’t pay attention at all times when ‘driving off’ with these ‘handy dandy chairs’. Because if we pigeons for example like to lay down between the wheels of your desk chair (just because we love to be as close as possible to you), and you would then suddenly drive away… They also become “very handy dandy” to crush or chop off our precious little feet or worse 😱!

Yes, this is pecked out quite harshly, but it is a VERY serious risk, which should be taken very seriously. I don’t (nor my pet humans do) know how much other types of birds also do this, but I do know that I often tend to lay down between the feet of these chairs. And I also know a few other pigeons which do love to do the same. So PLEASE be very careful and pay attention to us when using movable desk chairs around us.

Lots of humans (unfortunately) need medication, and that’s fine. We birds are even happy for you that such a thing as medication exists to keep our lovely humans healthy and alive. But the medication which keeps you humans healthy, is often very poisonous for us birds. So please make sure that your medication (or any other medication for that matter, like for other pets) is completely out of reach for us birds!

Same goes for other small items which we birds could be mistaken for food. This could be small ear studs, threaded piercing balls, other small pieces of jewelry, fake plastic berries (often seen in holiday decorations), small plastic balls or parts of (human children) toys, small Lego parts and anything small which comes to mind. Most of the time such items won’t pose much of a threat because we birds ‘kinda taste’ what we can eat and don’t swallow things which we can’t eat. However it is obviously better not to take any risks, and to make sure that you humans keep everything which might pose a threat to be eaten out of our reach.

In a typical house hold there are many things which could be eaten, either by humans, other pets or us birds. But that ‘one category’ can eat a certain food safely doesn’t means that this food is also safe for one of the other categories.

It is very likely that the stuff which you humans eat is not safe for us birds to eat. However me and my pet humans have covered a whole sub topic about this on this page. So we would definitely like to recommend you to read that section, because there are actually certain human foods which you can actually safely share and eat together with us 😍

Rule of thumb
If you are not sure if you can share a certain piece of human food with us birds: Then just don’t do it! It’s not worth the risk.

Definitely not common in every human household, but still often found in many: Antique furniture and items.

Okay so us birds don’t like “old stuff”? 😉 Well no, that’s not the problem. Many antique furniture (especially when it is in original condition) contain old (vintage) paints, these old paints are often heavy metal-based. Meaning that they can for example contain lead.

If we birds ingest pieces or chippings of these paints, it can cause serious heavy metal poisoning. So if your humans have antiques in their home, they should keep this issue in mind.

Insecticides, pesticides and “pest traps” basically all have one common purpose: To get rid of insects or “pests” (like rats, mice etc).

Do you humans know what these are all also “very good” at?

Getting rid of pets, like us birds for example.

Yup, this one (yet again) sounds very harsh, but unfortunately it’s also the ‘hard truth’. MANY products of these categories are very (I mean VERY) toxic to us birds.

And even if you humans are using ‘non toxic’ traps like (snapping) mouse traps, glue strips (either for mice/rats or those meant for flies which you can hang from the ceiling) or ‘trap boxes’ for mice etc, they can (and will) still pose a serious threat for us birds.

Please NEVER use any toxic insecticides or pesticides in homes were we birds live (this also includes ant trap boxes!), and if you humans really have to use one of the other (non toxic!) traps in your home, then make sure that it absolutely impossible for us birds to get to them.

A very important aspect of almost any human household are vacuum cleaners. But they can also pose a serious health risk for us birds in some cases. Vacuum cleaners are obviously meant to clean the room, but if a vacuum cleaner does not have a decent (preferably HEPA) filter build in, it will actually also blow out a lot of very small (micro) dust particles which are bad for our birds respiratory system.

It is very important that when humans are using vacuum cleaners in the same room as us birds that they use a vacuum cleaner which doesn’t blow out large amounts of ‘micro/fine dust’. Like said before, using one with a decent HEPA filter is a very good start.

If you humans however always feel that the ‘room smells a bit funky’ after you’ve vacuumed, than this basically means (sorry to put it so bluntly) that you have a crappy (or at least very badly sealed) vacuum cleaner.

A decently filtered vacuum cleaner should not make the room smell funky, or produce large amounts of (micro) dust.

If you humans do need to vacuum with a vacuum cleaner which is at risk of doing this, then it is very important that you take us birds out of the room/area and keep us out of this area for a while and until you’ve ventilated it very well. This to prevent us from inhaling all the ‘micro dust’ the vacuum cleaner just ‘threw around’

Vacuum Cleaner Fun fact
A (totally unrelated to dust) fun fact about vacuum cleaners, is that there are many birds which get triggered to start bathing when they hear or are near an vacuum cleaner. I and most humans don’t seem to know exactly why this happens, but most humans actually seem to think this is quite funny to see 🙂 . By reading some of the stories online, some humans even seem to use a vacuum cleaner to trigger some of their birds to start bathing (if they would usually refuse to bathe for example).

There are plenty of stories about us birds and bathing due to vacuum cleaners online, but here is one forum with several posts about this, enjoy 🙂

Robot Vacuum Cleaner Warning
A small additional warning about robot vacuum cleaners might also be in place here. I myself do enjoy the robot vacuum cleaner of my pet humans a lot, simply due to the fact that I jump onto it and ‘race it through the room’. BUT… You humans do need to keep in mind that some of these robot vacuum cleaners can have very strong motors in their wheels or suction system(s). For some birds (or with some robot vacuum cleaners) this could pose a serious risk of injuring us birds.

They could for example injure us by driving over us, or in case of smaller birds suck up (a part) of us birds injuring us in the process. Even for larger birds like us pigeons it’s very well possible that our feathers or feet get stuck in rotating/moving parts of a robot vacuum cleaner.

Lots of robot vacuum cleaners have plenty of sensors in the front so they don’t bump into things, but there are also many robot vacuum cleaners which don’t have any sensors in the back of it at all. Which means that if it needs to back-up a bit, that it will not be able to “see”/sense us birds, and thus just keeps ‘driving into/over’ us!

If you humans use a robot vacuum cleaner it’s best to either schedule it when we birds are not around, or that you ensure that you can supervise us and the robot vacuum cleaner at all times when we are in the same room together.

Please do note that this list obviously (by far) does not cover all the possible dangers concerning us pigeons (and fellow birds), but it should definitely point you and your pet humans in the right direction to make your home much safer for you and your fellow bird friends 🙂