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Safe wood for birds

The following is a list of various woods that are known to be safe for birds. It has been compiled from the research of many sources. I have only taken wood that is considered safe by all the sources I used. If one believes a wood to be possibly toxic, it is not included. Therefore, this is not a complete list as I am sure there are many other safe woods available. Be advised, some wood listed as safe could have toxic leaves or bark.

Please use caution when researching wood for birds. I have studied many "safe wood" lists available, and found contradicting information. One source claims Redwood to be a safe wood for birds, and other sources claim it is toxic. In a case like this I completely stay away from that type of wood. Some sources claim a wood is safe, but do not state the bark may be poisonous. DO NOT GUESS. It is better to be 100% sure of what you are putting in the cage than to find out too late that a list was incorrect.


Acacia Ailanthus - Tree of Heaven Alder (white Alder)
Almond Aralia Ash (Fraxinus)
Apple (layer between bark & wood toxic) Arbutus Aspen (Populus)
Bamboo Barberry (Berberis) Beech (Fagus)
Birch Bottle Brush Butterfly Bush
Camelia Citrus (Orange is questionable) Cornplant
Cottonwood (Populous) Crabapple (Malus) Date
Dogwood Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga) Dracaena
Elm (Ulmus) Escallonia Eucalyptus
Fig Species Fir (Genus Abies) Fruitless Mulberry
Ginkgo Grape Vines Grape Palm
Guava Hackberry Hawthorn (Crataegus)
Hazelnut Hibiscus Hickory
Ironwood (leaves may be toxic) Jade Plant Larch (Larix)
Lilac (Syringa) Liquidamber Madrona
Magnolia Manzanita Maple (not red)
Mediterranean Laurel Mesquite (remove thorns) Mimosa
Mountain Ash (Sorbus) Mulberry (Morus) Nandina (a.k.a. Heavenly Bamboo)
Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria) Nut (except Chestnut & Oak; see Oak) Oak (wood only, no bark or leaves)
Oregon Grape (Mahonia) Palm Papaya
Pear Pecan Photinia
Pine Poplar Ribbonwood
Rose Rubber Plant (Except Weeping Fig) Russian Olive
Sassafras Silk Tree Spiraea
Spruce Staghorn Sumac Strawberry Tree
Sweet Gum Sycamore Thurlow
Tree fern Umbrella tree Viburnum
Vine Maple Walnut (under investigation) Willow (Goat, Pussy & Weeping)
Wiegela Yucca


I cannot stress enough how important it is to thoroughly clean all wood. Safe wood can become deadly if not cleaned properly. I wash all my branches with very hot, soapy water, using a coarse scrub brush. I then rinse with a bleach and water solution and then rinse again with just water. Branches can be dried in the oven, or dried for a few days in direct sunlight.

As there are also many different contaminents in the air that can turn a safe wood into a dangerous one, you need to be careful where you retrieve your wood from. I never get wood from trees that are near the side of the road or close to industial areas. The exhaust and fumes from cars and factories can leave residue on branches and over time it can seep into the wood itself.

In April of 2009, in Ontario, The Ministry of the Environment banned using pesticides for cosmetic reasons. This means that lawns, parks and school yards are not being treated with pesticides as they used to be. This leaves us less of a chance receiving contaminated branches


DISCLAIMER: The information on this page has been prepared by The Nestling Haven. It has been compiled from research and our own personal experience - we are not veterinarians. While we will make every attempt to provide accurate information, The Nestling Haven will not be responsible or liable for any errors or omissions. The information is for reference purposes only and we do not guarantee the safety of any of the wood, or parts of the tree, nor accuracy of information.