Birds are more intelligent and capable than many people give them credit. Some species can be excellent emotional support companions.
Parrots, for example, have outstanding empathy and are very social with humans and other animals. Some are capable of complex vocalizations, including basic human language.
In many cases birds are able to intuit changes in human mood or behavior well before another human is capable of picking up the same subtle signs.
Exotic birds may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about an emotional support animal. Fortunately, the law is on your side if this is something you wish to pursue.
Compared with other animals, birds can be relatively contained. They take up small spaces which are typically easy to clean, and don’t face the same level of undue scrutiny or stress from a landlord.
Unique Needs & Challenges
Like every animal, bird companionship comes with a unique set of needs and challenges.
Birds are especially sensitive to their environment, which is one reason why they seem so intuitive.
Scientists have long considered birds to be “indicator species.”
Practically speaking, this means birds are often susceptible environmental dangers before humans. It is for this reason that miners would send a “canary in the coal mine,” to help identify hazards.
The same principles apply to a bird in your home. Your bird is likely to experience stressors before you notice them. It may even be effected by minor changes to the environment that you wouldn’t otherwise notice.
Birds Should Stay Away From The Kitchen
The kitchen is generally an unsafe space for your emotional pet bird to be. This may be the most hazardous room in most homes because of the sheer number of dangers.
Most kitchens contain a collection of sharp or hot items. Food scraps, liquids and cleaners are all potential dangers.
Dramatic changes in temperature while using an oven or stovetop cooking may also be a negative impact.
The biggest concern, though, is actually the cookware itself.
Birds have delicate respiratory systems. Their bodies pick up on the lowest levels of inhaled toxins. This includes fumes emitted by PTFE used in non-stick cookware.
You may have heard of PTFE by the popular brand name “Teflon,” which has ruled over most kitchens for more than 50 years.
While the effect on humans is typically short-lived, any use of Teflon near a bird may prove to be fatal.
Check Your Cookware First
Fortunately, several new products have been developed that mimic the non-stick capabilities of Teflon, without creating the same dangerous fumes.
Unfortunately, as these new “ceramic” cookware products have grown more popular, several traditional non-stick brands have made it more difficult to understand what materials are used in the creation of their products.
This can be especially problematic for bird-owners who want to keep their animals safe and healthy.
If you own a bird and want to cook with a non-stick product, there are good options available today. Just be sure to confirm that you’re using a nonstick pan without teflon.
Before bringing an emotional support bird home, check your cookware first. Steer clear of PTFE.
Teflon and birds simply don’t mix.
David Lewis is the founder of Kitchen Ambition, a place for home cooking enthusiasts to learn about the best cookware, culinary techniques, and ingredients.