Keeping our companion parrots safe and healthy is a top priority. Sure parrots are evolved to survive well on their own in the wild. However, the artificial environment of the human home can pose many dangers that a parrot would not be exposed to in the wild.
Being familiar with common household dangers is a must. But simply being familiar isn't enough. It is important to enact rules and systems into place that ensure that these dangers are removed or cannot be accidentally introduced. This article is by no means a definitive list but it is something to help get you thinking about bird safety.
Anything bad for people is already bad for parrots. Definitely no alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, or narcotics. Coffee, tea, and chocolate are a big no-no for parrots because the light buzz effect we might get from them can cause heart problems and dehydration in parrots. Nothing with caffeine in it. And frankly no human drinks either. Parrots don't need to be drinking anything but water (nectar drinkers aside). A little bit of natural fruit juice can be safe but doesn't serve a purpose, better off just eating fruits then.
Parrots should not be given peanuts! The peanuts themselves aren't toxic but the shells can contain Aflatoxins which can be lethal. The risk just isn't worth it when there are plenty of safer nuts available. Excessively salty, sweet, or processed foods aren't toxic but they are bad. The more natural the better. Be careful to properly wash or peel skins from fruits as they can contain dangerous pesticides. Fruit pits/seeds are known to contain cyanide and should be avoided as well.
Avocado is another food that can be lethal if consumed by parrots. According to Donna Muscarella PHD, "Avocados are definitely toxic to parrots. They contain a cardiac glycoside ("persin") that leads to rapid cardiac arrest and death." While there have been some sightings of wild parrots consuming avocados, it is not understood if they have specific adaptations, natural dietary supplements, special selection skills, or if they do eventually succumb. For this reason, Dr. Muscarella concludes that "because avocados are so highly toxic to at least some species - and because there is no way to know this for a particular bird ahead of time- it is best to avoid feeding them."
Here is a video of Lorelei Tibbets LVT on the subject of intentional or unintentional feeding of avocados to parrots.
Other pets, particularly carnivorous pets such as cats, dogs, snakes, and ferrets can pose a life threatening danger to household birds. There are too many cases where the innocent dog that never hurt a fly catches a bird like a frisbee and that's the end of the bird.
However, another pet that can pose a big danger to a companion parrot is another parrot. Whether of the same species or not, even birds that get along can sometimes hurt or maim each other. It is important to give in depth consideration to keeping multiple parrots in direct contact of each other almost to the same degree as other kinds of pets. Also, parrots can harbor diseases or parasites so contact without quarantine can be dangerous as well.
Both household pot plants and woods can pose a hazard to your bird. Some woods, including oak and nutmeg can be dangerous. Obviously don't use these for perches but also take care that your bird isn't chewing up something that contains these. Plywood and MDF board can be dangerous because of the glues used to put them together. Certain pot plants can be dangerous as well. Here is a pretty extensive list.
Parrots are birds and birds can fly. Even with clipped wings, under certain circumstances, birds can fly just enough to fall into the same dangers that put flighted birds at risk. It is important to prevent the danger of ceiling fans, open doors, open windows, open water, and other dangerous things around the house. Furthermore, it's important to be careful not to slam a flying (or walking) bird with a door. It's important to hide/remove any toxic things around the home (or bird roamed area) that can be dangerous if chewed. Most of these will fall under environment anyway. But here's a more extensive flight safety article I wrote in the past.
There are many things that can harm our parrots around the house with or without them coming in direct contact. If they chew on wires, they can get electrocuted. There are many things that are toxic or just too dirty to be chewed. Care must be taken to prevent or supervise because left alone, you can only imagine the kind of trouble your parrot could get into. Teflon cookware, even used at a distance, can spew lethal fumes throughout the house. Aerosols sprays, scented candles, paints, and glue fumes can be dangerous as well. Avoid whenever possible. Keep the bird far away and the area well ventilated if unavoidable.
Perhaps the most underlooked danger to household parrots comes from humans themselves. Sure there are dangers such as mishandling or stepping on a bird. But the biggest danger still is complacency. Ignorance is just as dangerous but hopefully can be solved through learning. But complacency is being aware of things that are dangerous but doing them anyway. This type of mindset is what ultimately leads to harm to birds and it is the worst kind because it was avoidable.
The biggest reason people get complacent is because most of these hazards do not lead to instant death or do not necessarily cause harm every time they are encountered. Not every bite of avocado will be toxic, not every peanut will have aflatoxins, not every dog will try to eat the bird. However, over time, the continued exposure to these risks substantially increases the likelihood that the parrot will have long term health damage or death as a result. This is an article about how making excuses harms your bird.
There are so many dangers that are outside our knowledge or beyond our control. The least we can do to make our experience together safer is to take the known threats seriously and avoid them.
There are many good behaviors that we can teach our parrots but there are just as many (if not more) bad ones we can inadvertently teach that may put our parrots in jeopardy. I have been seeing way too many photos of parrots placed in potentially dangerous situations. Often times the situation isn't dangerous in the moment the photo is snapped but it is teaching the parrot a behavior that is likely to some day get it hurt.
The most common circumstance I've seen in photos that I strongly object to is having a parrot on the stove. In many cases the parrot is actually being trained to go on the stove using operant conditioning through positive reinforcement. People are using the same techniques I use to train my parrots to go to their training perches, but to go to a dangerous place such as a stove instead! Even without food, just the act of laughing, taking a picture, or making a big deal about it can be socially reinforcing in itself. In other words just from someone putting their parrot on a stove and their reaction to it, may encourage the parrot to fly, walk, or jump there on its own some other time.
Even if you are careful not to cook when your parrot is out, which you should be, doesn't mean it's ok to allow the parrot on the stove when it's cold. As the parrot learns that the stove is a safe, fun, and possibly feeding place, not only does it lose deterent from going there but it is even encouraged. Even if you maintain a 100% perfect track record, there is still the possibility of someone else coming over and using the stove while the parrot is out. But not just that. There is also the possibility that your parrot will someday end up in a different home (whether boarding, rehoming, temporary care, etc). If your parrot was encouraged to do potentially dangerous behavior in your home, it could be the end of the bird in someone else's. That is why it is absolutely your responsibility to solve bad behavior and encourage good.
I was originally planning to link photos and stories related to this that I found disturbing but decided I don't want to single anyone out. But I don't want to downplay the severity at all. Believe me, these things are all too common and horror stories are real. The stove is one of the biggest ones that comes to mind but there are plenty of others. Always consider whether or not something could pose a danger to your parrot down the line. Don't encourage that sort of behavior now if it could cause harm later. A good starting point is if you wouldn't allow a toddler to be there or play with that, you especially shouldn't for a parrot!
In my book, I end up talking a lot about encouraging good behavior and cooperation in parrots. But the most important, free, simple, cheap, easy piece of advice I can give toward having a well-behaved/safe parrot is to avoid encouraging bad behavior in the first place! We're not talking about punishing or trying to eradicate bad behavior. We're talking about not giving it the opportunity to develop in the first place. If your parrot is stove obsessed, making it not want to go there is extremely hard and someday the stove may be cooling down and still hot enough to burn the parrot going on there. On the other hand, if you never put your parrot there or allow leftover food to encourage your parrot to go there, you are partly on the way.
Another element to avoiding a parrot from going some place is to never allow it to see you or anyone else there either. For example, my parrots want to chew up my keyboard and things they see me using in their presence. Since I never cook or even approach the stove while they are out, they don't see that as an interesting place. This isn't to say that it's impossible for them to land on the stove, but it makes it damned unlikely because they never saw it as a place birds/people go. It's very hard to keep a parrot from going to places it found to be fun or rewarding. However, preventing it from being rewarding is much more manageable.
So what I encourage you to do, is to think about what kind of household places or things you do may pose a danger to your parrot (not only under your supervision but even under others'). Not only that, don't give your parrot opportunities to play with or chew things that may be dangerous. Prevention is key. Put dangerous items away. Don't allow your parrot into dangerous rooms (such as kitchens/bathrooms). Don't let your parrot see you using potentially dangerous items. Never place reinforcing things (such as food or toys) in potentially dangerous places. And if your parrot does on its own come in contact with something that isn't imminently dangerous (just in the long term), don't make a big deal about it. Don't laugh, don't take a picture, don't give a toy instead, better yet don't do anything. There is a good chance the bird will get bored and that will be the end of that. Almost anything you do will more likely lead to reinforcement of the behavior so no reaction is best.
If the bird takes an interest to a dangerous place (such as a stove) without you reinforcing it, the only remaining solution is to prevent it from being in that room or perform direct training to keep the bird too occupied to have the opportunity to explore unwanted places. For example, place the parrot on a training perch and do some target training to distract if from what it wants to do. Break the bad habit by positively reinforcing a good one. Just remember to prevent and ignore unwanted behavior and then reinforce desirable. For lots more info about achieving a well behaved parrot, check out my book.