Pet birds of all types can benefit from the branches, leaves and stems of wild plants and trees. Stripping bark, chewing wood and searching the leaves for hidden treats is very good for their well-being. In fact, I have long provided cut native browse to captives ranging from ants to ostriches to elephants, and most zoos consider such a valuable form of “behavioral enrichment” and, in some cases, an adjunct to captive diets.
Be sure that all plants provided to birds have been well-washed, so as to remove insecticides. When cutting natural perches, stay with branches from almond, citrus fruit, apple, dogwood, ash, elm and Manzanita trees, or grapevine.
Many plants that birds might encounter in your home or garden can, however, sicken or kill your pet. The following list was adapted from that provided by the ASPCA, with additions garnered from my own experience. Please keep your birds (and other pets) away from these – when in doubt, err on the side of caution:
Avocado (fruit, pit)
Bird of paradise
Cherry (leaves, seeds)
Corn Plant (all Dracena)
There’s quite a few more…I’ll cover the balance next week.
Bird emergencies can take many forms….for an overview, please see: