Birds are very different from us; they have very delicate organs paired with high metabolism. Compared to mammals (people, cats and dogs) they have very little endurance to toxic fumes. On an average an adult human takes 9 to 17 breaths per minute, with lowest being sitting or sleeping and highest while running or brisk walking. An average adult hummingbird (ruby-throated) that’s resting takes about 250 breaths per minute. Taking a mathematical approach, assume that you and a hummingbird are exposed to a toxic gas while resting for 1 minute and you had X amount of exposure (assuming you took 12 breaths), the hummingbird will have had 20.8 times the amount of exposure you had (assuming that the hummingbird took 250).
Agreed that the above analogy is not accurate given that there are many factors such as body weight, lung capacity, heart rate, blood pressure and the fact hummingbirds have the fastest metabolism on the planet, but you get the idea of what’s going on.
Following the steps below will enable to you to provide your companion bird with fresh clean air each time he/she breathes.
Avoid Teflon fumes. Avoid non-stick cookware all together as they cause cancer in people and kills birds. Teflon fumes are highly toxic to birds and causes death. Teflon fumes are toxic to everyone including us; excessive exposure might result in fever and/or nausea. Birds on the other hand are not that lucky. When non-stick pans are heated beyond 350’F they start emitting fumes, this is causes the birds lungs to bleed internally and prolonged exposure causes lungs to be filled with blood and the birds dies due to lack of oxygen. There are many reported incidences where pet owners lost their healthy birds and later when probed by the vet admitted to having cooked a big dinner almost always involving non-stick cookware. The autopsy confirms the cause of death.
Use air purifiers. The average indoor air is 6 times more polluted than the out door air. It’s a great reason to have an air purifier in the family room that benefits everyone. If your birds don’t live in your family room like mine do, you might want to add an air purifier to your birds room. Make sure you select a traditional air purifier that has a filter to trap the dust. The latest ionic air purifiers release ozone (three atoms of oxygen) that is an oxidant and not good for all of us.
Add fresh air and sunlight. Open the windows and let the fresh air pass through your home. Of course, we can’t do much about winter months but do take full advantage of the rest of the year. Fresh air and sunlight are always good and healthy, just like us birds need exposure to sunlight to metabolize Vitamin D.
Avoid perfume and artificial air fresheners. Spray perfume away from your bird’s room, it’s a good idea to turn your exhaust fan and use the perfume in the bathroom. Air fresheners have chemicals that cause irritation in your bird’s respiratory system and most birds are allergic to such products.
Do not smoke indoors. If you’re a smoker, you must be familiar with the term passive smoking. When it comes to your bird, if you have one cigarette it’s equal of your bird having one pack of cigarettes and just look how tiny your bird is. It’s a battle your bird will loose.
Keep candles away. When burning candles make sure the place is well ventilated to avoid Carbon monoxide poisoning
Keep cooking gas checked. Methane is very poisonous to the birds and often causes respiratory failure and death. If your home has gas cooking having a regular maintenance to avoid gas leakage and taking extra caution while cooking can be very effective to prevent accidents.
If you have any further questions, please contact me. I can provide links to more information and point you towards more resources.