This is the time of year when most of us invite little neighborhood “goblins and ghoulies and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night” to our front doors for treats. Because this is considered the scariest time of the year, I thought it appropriate to share some of the frightening things that can happen if we are not vigilant while the festivities are going on. Although most of us understand that a costume party held in the area of the house that our birds consider a place of safety may be difficult for them, we do not think of how we may endanger them during those times when we entertain many costumed strangers on our door steps each October 31st.
Our birds are precious family members whom we enjoy including in those activities that are safe for them. As their stewards, we do our best to consider all the potential problems that may arise from any situation in which they are placed. Because of our strong feelings of love and protection, it is not enough to assess only potential problems that may exist for them within our homes, it is also imperative that we also consider whatever outside influences that may influence the home environment.
Unnoticed Halloween Dangers For Birds
We all know that leaving a fully flighted bird outside of his cage is unwise when doors or windows are open; however, the risk is heightened when a bird is startled by people who are yelling “Trick or treat” while dressed in scary or gaudy costumes and standing at a widely opened front door. If you add to that the fact that the bird’s person is usually distracted by handing out treats and chatting with the visiting little ghouls and ghosts, the possibility of a bird escaping the home during is greatly increased.
An extraordinarily friendly bird (small cockatoos are good at this) may even wander out to see what is going on and escape outside and be accidentally stepped on, shut in a door, grabbed by a neighbor’s dog, run over by a car or bike, or fall victim to numerous other awful manners of injury or death. To amplify the level of danger even further, trick or treating usually occurs during the night, while the weather is beginning to be considerably colder — factors that make finding a startled and disoriented bird alive and well less likely.
Some birds are jeopardized by their peoples’ innocence. For example, a bird might be left sitting in front of an uncovered window in the front of the house where passersby can see him. Although a person might think nothing of having his or her bird visible to strangers, a bird is often seen as an instant source of income for thieves and can make your home more vulnerable to robbery. Even smaller birds with lots of personality may appeal to a neighborhood youngster who has always wanted a bird. Although you know your neighbors to be honest, they may innocently mention that you have birds in your home and, over time, the message may eventually get out to someone dishonest. The little love of your life is seen as just dollar signs or a novelty to dishonest people … it’s sad, but true.
Preventing Halloween Dangers For Birds
Luckily, keeping our birds safe on Halloween and during other times of revelry can be easy with a little advance planning.
If you are entertaining people in your home, even a very sociable bird can become nervous or extremely frightened by the sight of people in costume. Unless your bird is accustomed to groups of costumed people in his environment, it is best to move his cage to a familiar bedroom or family room, preferably one you can lock from the outside. This also eliminates the worry of possibly tipsy celebrants forcing interaction with your bird or feeding him foods that are harmful. Leave a television or radio playing in the room with your bird to help camouflage the sound of noisy celebrants. If your home is too small to do this, consider leaving your bird with a trusted friend or family member; preferably a responsible animal lover whom he has stayed with before.
If you are not entertaining visitors but are participating in handing out treats, make sure your bird is in an area where he cannot fly or walk to the opened door. Also, keep him away from windows where he can be seen by passersby and trick or treaters. A television or radio playing in the room with him can soften doorbell and people noise. These distractions also lessen the chances of his revealing his presence in your home by talking loudly or screaming for attention each time the doorbell rings or when he hears you talk to the people at the door.
After Halloween is over, remember that candy and candy wrappers are almost irresistible to most birds. Keep harmful items out of areas your bird can access. If you hosted a gathering in your home, closely inspect it for any candy or foods or other objects that may have been dropped or left where your bird can reach it.
Our feathered family members enrich and uplift our lives in ways that are inconceivable to non-bird people; we know that life without them would be hollow and sad. By actively anticipating and appropriately addressing events and situations that affect them, we honor their importance in our lives and can greatly increase the chances of our beloved feathered friends living many long and happy years to come.