There are some items that should never go into your bird’s bowl or foraging toys.


While there are different schools of thought on feeding birds avocado, it is best to not feed this fruit in any shape or form. The pit of the avocado contains an oil named persin, and it can be fatal to birds. If you eat avocado, wash your hands before handling your bird.

Fresh Tomatoes

Any acidic fruit, such as tomatoes, shouldn’t be served fresh to your bird. The acidity can cause ulcers. But that doesn’t mean your bird can never eat tomatoes. Dried, sulfite-free tomatoes and tomato sauce are just fine.


Onions contain sulfur compounds that can cause hemolysis in birds, which is the rupture of red blood cells. This can lead to anemia in birds. Onions could can also cause irritation in your bird’s mouth, esophagus and crop, as well as cause ulcers.


Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, which is a stimulant. Chocolate can cause heart problems, seizures, liver damage and even death in even the smallest of amounts.

Alcohol & Caffeine

Alcohol poisoning can cause seizures and death, while caffeine is a stimulant, which can be fatal if your bird consumes too much.


Garlic contains allicin, a sulfur compound. While rare, garlic can cause Heinz body anemia in birds.


Mushrooms are a fungus, and there are only a few safe types for people to eat. Birds that eat mushrooms sometimes suffer from digestive problems, and certain mushrooms can cause liver failure.

Word of Warning: Meat & Eggs

If you feed meats or eggs to your bird, make sure they are properly cooked to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. Avoid feeding reheated meats too, since the heating process may not kill bacteria. As for shellfish, sometimes the meat can be toxic. As humans, we can handle the toxins, but birds might not be able to. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

I am the editor in chief of Bird Talk Magazine, a California native, journalist, vegan and the proud owner of Forest and River, two German Shephards, and a turquoise green-cheeked conure named Blue.

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