The phrase “Curiosity killed the cat” could easily be rewritten as “Curiosity killed the cockatiel.” These inquisitive little birds seem to be able to get into just about anything, which means they can get themselves into potentially dangerous situations rather quickly. Because of this natural curiosity, cockatiel owners must be extremely vigilant when their birds are out of their cage.
Part of this vigilance should include bird-proofing your home. Remember that some parrots are intellectually on a level similar to that of a toddler. You wouldn’t let a toddler have free run of your house without taking precautions to
safeguard the child from harm, and you should have the same concern for your cockatiel. Let’s go room by room and look at some of the potentially dangerous situations you should be aware of.
This can be a cockatiel paradise if the bird is allowed to spend time with you as you prepare for work or for an evening out, but it can also be quite harmful to your bird’s health. An open toilet could lead to drowning, the bird could hurt himself chewing on the electric cord of your blow-dryer, or he could be overcome by fumes from perfume, hairspray, or cleaning products, such as bleach, air freshener, and toilet bowl cleaner.
The bird could also become ill if he nibbles on prescription or nonprescription drugs in the medicine chest, or he could injure himself by flying into a mirror. Use caution when taking your bird into the bathroom, and make sure his
wings are clipped to avoid flying accidents.
This is another popular spot for birds and their owners to hang out, especially around mealtimes. Here again, dangers lurk for curious cockatiels. An unsupervised bird could fly or fall into the trash can, or he could climb into the oven, dishwasher, freezer, or refrigerator and be forgotten. Your bird could land on a hot stove, or fall into an uncovered pot of boiling water or sizzling frying pan on the stove. The bird could also become poisoned by eating foods that are unsafe for him, such as chocolate, avocado, or rhubarb, if they are left unattended on a countertop.
Are you sitting on your couch or in a comfortable chair as you read this book? Although it probably seems safe enough to you, your pet could be injured or killed if he decided to play hide-and-seek under pillows or cushions and you accidentally sat on him. Your cockatiel could become poisoned by nibbling on a leaded-glass lampshade, or he could fly out an open window or patio door. He could also fly into a closed window or door and injure himself severely. He could become entangled in a drapery cord or a venetian blind pull, he could fall into an uncovered fish tank and drown, or he could ingest poison by nibbling on ashes or cigarette butts in an ashtray.
This can be another cockatiel playground, but you’ll have to be on your toes to keep your pet from harming himself by nibbling on potentially poisonous markers, glue sticks or crayons, and electrical cords, or impaling himself on
Other Areas of Concern
If you have a ceiling fan in your house, make sure it is turned off when your bird is out of his cage. Make sure you know where your bird is before turning on your washer or dryer, and don’t close your basement freezer without checking first to be sure your bird isn’t in there. Lit candles, inlaid jewelry, sliding glass doors, and toxic houseplants also pose threats to your cockatiel.
This doesn’t mean you should keep your bird locked up in his cage all the time. On the contrary, all parrots need time out of their cage to maintain physical and mental health. The key is to be aware of some of the dangers that may exist
in your home and to pay attention to your bird’s behavior so you can intervene before the bird becomes ill or injured.