For the Birds

For the Birds

Birds’ respiratory systems are seven to eight times more sensitive to airborne pathogens than those of humans, so indoor air that’s healthy for you might not be so great for feathered housemates. Here’s how to help clear the air for your bird, says Leila Marcucci, D.V.M., an avian specialist at the Bay Area Bird Hospital in San Francisco:

Bathe birds weekly. When birds molt (i.e., when their feathers fall out and are replaced by new ones), the new feathers grow in covered in a keratin sheath that the bird or owner removes, increasing dust and dander in the air. Bathing birds at least once a week reduces the amount of harmful circulating particles, making indoor air cleaner.

Use an air purifier. A HEPA filter won’t produce harmful ozone. Also, clean air-conditioning and heating systems yearly.

Check for mold. Birds are sensitive to bacteria and fungus.

Avoid air fresheners, scented candles and incense. Also, steer clear of self-cleaning ovens and using nonstick pans for cooking; Teflon and similar nonstick products can produce toxic fumes when overheated.