With as often as most people see birds throughout their lives, it can be surprising to think about just how delicate and fragile most birds are.
After all, when you see pigeons eating from trash cans on the side of an urban street, you don’t think of the fact that if birds eat even one wrong ingredient, the bird may no longer be alive in a matter of hours. There are a lot of factors that play into the fact that birds are incredibly sensitive creatures. These range from how fast their metabolism is to how sensitive their digestive systems are, and even to how hollow and light their bones are.
The Fragility of Birds
While there are certainly some birds that are hardy enough to survive just about anything, most birds are surprisingly delicate and sensitive to a number of things that most people wouldn’t even think of. This is seen in a few different areas, especially when it comes to owning birds of your own and having to pay attention to their diets.
Birds have very sensitive digestive systems. In addition to this, most birds have a very, very high metabolism. Their metabolism is like this because birds require a lot of energy to fly, and by eating small meals often, they are able to keep themselves fully fueled. At the same time, this means that if a bird eats something toxic, it is only a matter of hours before lethal effects take hold.
Physically speaking, birds are very weak. This is due to the fact that almost all birds have hollow bones. This is what helps birds fly and stay afloat on wind currents, soaring through the air. What this also means is that even a small amount of force, even accidental, can crush a bird’s bones. This often leads to death when the bird is no longer able to fly to its next food source, as most birds’ legs weren’t made for walking.
Dangers to Birds Within Your House
There are many household objects that are dangerous for birds. You should consider these items for a few reasons. For one, if you have any pet birds or are fostering birds of your own, you will need to keep them away from these dangers. For another reason, you will want to seal these belongings up in a way that birds can’t get to them if you are tossing them out so that the bird cannot mistakenly harm itself.
Most scented room fresheners, candles, and aerosolized sprays are dangerous and toxic to birds. Cigarettes and their smoke are also toxic. The tin in gum wrappers and cans is also very dangerous for birds to inadvertently ingest when going through your garbage. Other items you need to keep away from birds inside your home include unprotected electrical cords, ceiling fans, the fumes from Teflon cookware, and mirrors, as these can all cause damage to a bird in one way or another.
Finally, you will also want to think about all of the other household items that are toxic to humans, cats, and dogs. If it is bad for any animal larger than a bird, chances are that it will be an almost instantaneous death for the bird. These items include antifreeze, bleach, boric acid, detergents, glue, gasoline and kerosine, paint, paint thinners, paint removers, lotion, and any cleaning products.
Dangers Within the Kitchen
The kitchen is an especially dangerous place for birds, both wild and domestic. Not only is the kitchen home to foods that birds cannot consume, the kitchen is also home to a number of items that are dangerous for birds to come into contact with.
One of the most prominent examples of this is non-stick cookware items. Teflon and other naturally non-stick items give off fumes when they are heated up past a certain degree. These fumes are one of the few things that can kill birds, of all types, instantly. If you have a bird in your home or if you want to protect the birds outside, either consider getting new cookware or make sure to be extremely mindful of where any birds fly inside your home.
Non-stick coatings, specifically ones that use compounds in Teflon, are found in more than just the kitchen though and can give off dangerous fumes. These include irons and ironing boards, curling irons, space heaters, blow dryers, self-cleaning ovens, and similar. In short, you need to be extremely aware of what surfaces in your kitchen give off fumes that are deadly and dangerous for birds.
When most people think of what kills birds instantly, they are going to turn to food. This is generally what people find themselves searching for to make sure that they do not feed poison to the birds in their backyard. With how sensitive the digestive system of birds is, there are quite a few things that you will need to avoid in terms of food.
The most dangerous foods include avocados, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol. These will all put an end to a bird’s life very quickly. Other foods, such as rhubarb, tomato, asparagus, eggplant, olives, onions, parsley, mushrooms, spinach, dried beans (uncooked), butter, and most human junk foods are also unsafe, though depending on how much the bird eats, death may not be instant, though it could be soon.
Another thing to keep in mind are the pits of fruits and vegetables. These plants do not wish for their offspring to be eaten so that they can increase the chances of pollination and spreading, so many seeds and pits of plants are toxic to animals that commonly eat them, and this includes birds. Examples of this include apple seeds, cherry pits, peach and nectarine pits, pear seeds, and apricot seeds. In some of these cases, the fruits are fine to eat in moderation.
Dangers Outside of the House
Now that you have a good sense of the dangers that birds face inside a household environment, you will next want to think about what dangers there are outside of the house. Of course, vehicles and predators are going to be an instant death for any unfortunate birds, but there are more dangers to the outside world than just these.
If there are any containers with deep water in them, you need to dump the water. Standing water is already a problem, but for birds, it can be very dangerous. Most backyard birds cannot swim, and if they fall into water, they can become scared and disoriented, only causing them to exhaust themselves and drown more quickly. Keep in mind that birdbaths often do not meet the depth required for this to happen, so they are safe.
In addition to this, many outdoor plants are unsafe for birds. Most birds know not to eat plants that are unusual for them, but if you want to reduce the chances of birds dropping dead on your property, it may help to remove the most toxic plants that are commonly kept on a person’s property. These plants include hydrangeas, lilies, ivy, bleeding hearts, caladiums, and similar.
Last, but most certainly not least, are substances, compounds, and chemicals that should not go anywhere near where birds tend to hang out. These include insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides. Naturally, avicides will also kill birds instantly as this is what they are specifically manufactured to do.
Birds are a common sight, so you may not be inclined to think of how fragile birds can be. With that being said, there are many, many dangers out there that birds have to protect themselves from.
With there being countless foods that carry toxins, threats inside a house, plants that people add to their yard, and even standing water that all pose threats to the birds in your backyard, there is a lot that you have to manage if you want to make sure that your garden is as safe for birds as possible.