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What Wood is Safe for Birds

Birds love to chew on wood – everything from door frames to actual toys… but what wood is safe for birds to chew on? Below are some bird-safe woods commonly used in perches and toys. These woods are generally listed below by genus/group from softest to hardest but there can also be differences in hardness depending on the species:

  • Yucca
  • Balsa
  • Basswood
  • Cottonwood
  • Willow
  • Poplar
  • Pine (watch out for sap!)
  • Douglas fir
  • Birch
  • Elm
  • Ash
  • Maple
  • Dragonwood
  • Manzanita
  • Java
  • Ribbonwood
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New! Natural Bird Toy Subscription Boxes

Tired of the same old bird subscription boxes? At parrotJOY, we don’t simply reinvent the wheel… we listen to what YOU want and design innovative parrot enrichment. So, we have finally released parrotJOY natural bird toy subscription boxes. We are bringing you great subscription boxes for birds, that don’t simply reinvent the wheel. Each box is curated with toys that provide a NEW type of subscription box offering:

  1. Mixed Flock Natural Toy Subscription Box
  2. Subscription Box for Timid Birds
  3. Foot Toy Subscription Box for Birds

Try it for 1 month, or subscribe and save!

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How to Prevent a Bird’s Beak from Becoming Overgrown

Is your bird’s beak overgrown? A beak trim is a serious procedure that is far too often looked at in the same light as a nail trim. However, if a beak is trimmed too short, it will cause the bird pain, will bleed, and may make it difficult or impossible for a bird to eat. Furthermore, beaks shaped improperly or trimmed to the wrong length can cause jaw malalignment and problems that can persist or exacerbate as the beak grows back. But, don’t fret! For the majority of pet birds, beak trimming should never be needed. Here we discuss the beak growth process and how to prevent a bird’s beak from becoming overgrown.

Photo credit: Del Mar Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Nieve’s patient (Coco) before and after he trimmed her beak.

How does a beak grow?

A parrot’s beak grows from the base growth plate in layers. As it grows, it flakes off at the tip with regular chewing. The beak is constantly growing from both the back and below. Since the beak is continually growing, flaking is normal with visible layers of keratin. In nature, parrots constantly use their beaks for climbing, foraging (breaking open fruits and seeds), and excavating cavities for nesting. In our homes, chew toys and foraging toys must take the place of what the birds would find in nature. So, toys are absolutely essential to the critical beak-wear process. The abrasion from destructible toys shapes and trims the beak with each bite.

What causes an overgrown beak in parrots?

One reason why your bird’s beak is overgrown may have to do with diet. The upper beak or lower beak can grow too long, and/or abnormally. The upper beak overgrows far more often than the lower beak. In fact, some flaking is normal and expected, but too much dryness or brittleness indicate a metabolic problem such as fatty liver disease. According to the Animal House of Chicago veterinary center for birds and exotic pets, an overgrown beak can be an early sign of fatty liver disease… and one of the few outward signals that there may be nutritional issues. As a result, it is important to talk with your vet about what diet is appropriate for your bird.

Finally, there may be underlying causes for an overgrown beak that are not related to diet or toy access. According to the Del Mar Vet Hospital of St. Augustine, Florida, in addition to nutritional imbalances, an overgrown beak can be the result of health problems including trauma, developmental abnormalities, or polyomavirus-like infections. “Beak trimming is not necessary in birds unless the beak is overgrown due to underlying health problems or malocclusion,” states Greg Harrison, DVM, Dipl ABVP-Avian, Dipl ECAMS in Clinical Avian Medicine, Volume I, pg14. Therefore, you should talk to your avian vet about what might be the root cause of your specific bird’s beak overgrowth.

How can I prevent my bird’s beak from overgrowing?

But, don’t lose hope! Talk to your vet to identify what you can do to prevent your bird’s beak from overgrowing. Always provide plenty of natural beak-conditioning toys that your bird can chip away at. Experiment and find a wood block thickness that is satisfying to your bird. Bird toys with mahogany pods are great for exercising smaller beaks. And in the process of play, these fun toys are also chipping away at your bird’s beak and helping to prevent stressful beak trims.


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parrotJOY Sponsors a Blue-throated Macaw Nest Box in Bolivia

parrotJOY is proud to support Blue-throated Macaw recovery through sponsoring a nest box at Reserva Laney Rickman in Bolivia.

Laney Rickman developed the Nido Adoptivo™ nest box campaign in 2007 in partnership with Asociación Armonía to raise funds to build nest boxes for the critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw in their endemic range in Bolivia. To-date over 100 Blue-throated Macaw chicks have fledged from these nest boxes. We are excited to be part of this growing recovery project!

To-date over 100 Blue-throated Macaw chicks have fledged from the nest boxes, a truly significant number. As a result, the IUCN listing for the Blue-throated Macaw has changed from “Critically Endangered – declining” to “Critically Endangered – stable.” The success of this program is further demonstrated by the five breeding adults from the 2018-2019 breeding season confirmed to be ringed individuals, having fledged from the nest boxes in previous years, returning to breed. This is an important indicator of increasing population recruitment where fledged birds survive and reproduce, showing the success and positive impact of this program.

Please consider contributing to the future of these beautiful, intelligent parrots! Visit to make a donation.

All photos in gallery © Asociación Armonía

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Flight of the Macaw Podcast

Being a PhD student in wildlife science, I had the opportunity to provide fact-checking services KUOW’s wildlife podcast series, THE WILD. I was thrilled to be part of the team to bring you this exciting podcast about wild macaws! Please give it a listen!

There are only 350 scarlet macaws left in the wild in Belize. They face the threats of poaching and habitat loss. In this podcast, meet the passionate people determined to save these colorful birds.

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Sharing the JOY!

In a recent study published report in the journal Current Biology, researchers found that African grey parrots voluntarily helped a partner get a food reward by sharing food tokens. Later, scientists reversed birds’ roles to see if the recipient of this generosity would pay back those favors. And the birds did. In contrast, ravens and blue-headed macaws, shared very few tokens.

Read the original scientific journal article at:

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What is the best pellet for my bird’s diet?

When choosing a pellet diet for your bird, please realize some pellets are “complete” and others are “incomplete.” Usually the incomplete pellets lack vitamin D3 (which cannot be found in any naturally-occurring food thus providing fruits/veggies does not fill in the gaps).

Incomplete pellets often have recognizable ingredients lists that make us feel better about what we are feeding our birds. Incomplete pellets rarely mention this in their advertising… So, if you choose one of these pellets, just realize that you must supplement your bird’s diet daily (usually with DAILY natural sunlight or a lamp to provide D3, but check with your avian vet to confirm what vitamins/minerals are lacking in your specific incomplete pellet). Examples of incomplete pellets include TOPS.

Complete pellets provide a base foundation all essential vitamins and minerals. While it is still healthy to provide fresh veggies and natural sunlight on a complete pellet diet, you don’t have to stress if you miss a few days. The ingredients list of complete pellets is often less wholesome-looking with difficult to pronounce ingredients, in order to provide the full vitamin/mineral profile. Examples of complete pellets are Roudybush and Harrison’s.

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Free Webinar: An Overview of Parrot Reproduction

parrot reproduction webinar

Webinar: Where do Baby Parrots Come From? A Veterinary View of Avian Reproduction

Date: Friday, March 12, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. PST

Whether you breed birds or have pet birds, it’s important to understand how a bird’s reproductive system works and to be aware of possible health concerns. In this webinar, Dr. Stephanie Lamb will discuss avian reproductive anatomy and physiology, as well as possible treatment strategies for related issues.

Register here:

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Featured Toy Designer: Dani Flanary

parrot toy builder

Dani is one of our long-time toy builders, having put her personal touch on hundreds of parrotJOY bird toys. Dani came to parrotJOY with her own special art – paper origami – and we have been looking for a way to highlight her talent ever since! Although she does not have bird herself, she has learned what it takes to make a safe, exciting parrot toy. Combined with passion for origami, Dani designed and built the Origami Forager natural foraging toy!

When not crafting, you can find Dani out wandering in nature. She loves living in a state that allows her to travel from ocean to mountain in a matter of hours. As a fan of all forms of art, it is paper crafts, in particular, that she really enjoys creating and is very excited to be given this opportunity to showcase some of her work alongside ParrotJOY toys.

We are so lucky to have Dani and many talented artists working with us at parrotJOY! You are always going to see fresh, one-of-a-kind designs originating from parrotJOY. We hope to feature more of our toy builders in the future!