Poisonous Plants for Birds

posted: 05/15/12
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There are a variety of plants which are poisonous to birds, but there are many safe plants, too. So if you are a dedicated house plant enthusiast, you can have your plants and birds, too.

The degree of toxicity of a plant depends upon:

- The plant itself

- The amount ingested relative to the size of the bird

- The species of the bird

For example, a cockatoo that nibbles a few bites of philodendron may experience a mild degree of toxicity, whereas, the same amount or less may be lethal for a canary.

Although there are significant differences among species as to reaction and sensitivity to various plants, most sources agree that those plants listed in List 1 are toxic to any bird. This list may appear long but is by no means all-inclusive. There are many more toxic than safe plants, so stick to the "safe" list in List 2 for plants you will keep in the bird's environment.

The most commonly observed sign of toxic plant ingestion is some form of gastric or intestinal upset — e.g., vomiting and/or diarrhea. The treatment for plant poisonings is generally symptomatic.

If you suspect your bird has ingested a toxic plant, call your veterinarian or the poison control center immediately. It may be a good idea to print this out and keep it in a handy place near the telephone so you don't have to go searching and waste time in a stressful situation.

ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center

1-900-443-0000 ($45.00 per case.) The charge is billed directly to the caller's phone.

1-888-4ANI-HELP or 1-888-426-4435 ($45.00 per case.) The charge is billed to caller's credit card only.

Although we are talking about plants here, it is worthy of mentioning that birds are acutely sensitive to fumes from solvents and Teflon. Do not use any Teflon coated cooking utensils, ironing board covers, or other items anywhere near a bird.

List 1 — Toxic Plants

Avocado

Black locust

Blue-green algae

Castor bean

Christmas cherry

Coffe beans, tea, chocolate beans

Elephant's ear

Ergot

Foxglove

Jerusalem cherry

Jimsonweed

Lily of the valley

Locoweed

Milkweed

Mistletoe

Nightshade

Oak

Oleander

Philodendron

Poinsettia

Pokeweed

Potatoes

Rhododendron

Tobacco

Virginia creeper

Yew

List 2 — Safe Plants/Indoors

African violet

Aloe

Areca palm

Australian laurel

Bamboo palm

Begonias

Bird's nest fern

Boston fern

Bottle brush fern

Canary Island palm

Christmas cactus Coffee tree Corn plant Creeping fig Danish ivy Devil's ivy Dragon tree European fan palm Fiddle leaf fig Fig tree Flame nettle Hawaiian scheffler Indian laurel Jade plant Kangaroo vine Lace fern Lady palm Maidenhair fern Ming fern Mother fern Mother-in-law's tongue Norfolk pine Paradise palm Parlor palm Pepperomia Prayer plant Purple passion Rubber tree Spider plant Umbrella tree Wandering Jew Outdoor Safe Plants American bittersweet Autumn olive Bamboo Barberry Bayberry American or European Beech Bladdernut Blueberry Comfrey Coralberry Cotoneaster firethorn Crabapple Dogwood Common, European or Red Elderberry Balsam, Douglas, Subalpine or White Fir Grape vine Huckleberry Marigold Nasturtium Ponderosa, Spruce, Virginia, or White Pine Pyracantha Raspberry Rose Snowberry Black, Norway, Red, or White Spruce Viburnum Wax plant White poplar Willow

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