Are Pine Trees Safe For Parrots?

If you have a parrot, you are probably wondering whether it is safe around a pine tree. Come Christmas, many of us bring these trees into our homes, and your parrot might love the idea of landing in, pecking at, and otherwise exploring it. This is adorable and it probably makes a great Christmas picture, but is your parrot safe? Could the pine tree hurt it?

Let’s find out, are pine trees safe for parrots?

Pine is reasonably safe for parrots, but you may not want to let your parrot perch in a pine tree, especially if it tries to eat the needles or pine nuts, or it pecks at the trunk. Christmas decorations might also pose a hazard to your bird, so if you wish to protect your parrot, it’s better to be on the safe side.

Is Pine Tree Sap Dangerous?

Pine tree sap is probably one of the aspects of having a Christmas tree in your home that you need to watch out for. If your parrot ingests the sap, it could end up with its beak gummed shut, and might find it difficult to open it again, as the sap is immensely sticky.

Image by Dennis Bennett via Pixabay

The sap could also stick your parrot’s feathers together, making it uncomfortable and possibly causing it to try and pluck them out to remove the issue. Pine sap is very tricky to remove.

If you do let your bird roost in the Christmas tree, look out for this issue. Pine trees can bleed a lot of sap, and you don’t want a sticky bird for Christmas!

Pine is probably reasonably safe for your bird, but keep an eye on it if it has been sitting in the tree, and if you find any sign of sap on its feathers or you notice it preening a lot, the chances are that it will need some help getting itself sorted out.

Are Pine Tree Nuts Dangerous?

If your Christmas tree still has its cones on it, you might be wondering if your parrot is likely to take an interest and if it should concern you if it does.

In general, nuts from pine trees are fine for birds to eat, and the pine nuts in the Christmas tree (if there are any) should be fine for your parrot to eat. These are packed with nutrients and are often enjoyed by birds like parrots.

Dcrjsr, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, you should keep an eye on this, because sometimes Christmas trees are treated, and it’s probably better not to let your parrot eat the pine nuts. If you want to treat your parrot to pine nuts, get a cone from a natural place, and then bake it in the oven for an hour to sterilize it.

Your parrot can then have fun with it, without the risk of it consuming pesticides or other nasties that might be on the tree. This is better and safer than allowing your parrot to eat what it finds on the branches because you have no way of knowing if this is safe.

Are The Pine Needles Dangerous?

The needles probably aren’t dangerous, but keep an eye on your parrot. They are quite spiky, and if your parrot landed wrong, there is a small possibility that it could hurt itself on them. 

It is also possible that your parrot will try and eat the needles, and their sharpness could be a problem if they were ingested. They might cut your parrot’s insides.

Dmitri Popov, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Overall, the risk of pine needles harming your parrot (whether it eats them or not) is probably pretty low, but it could happen, so it’s a good idea to bear this in mind and keep an eye on things. If your parrot seems to be trying to eat the pine needles, get it out of the tree and keep it away in the future.

It is pretty unlikely to hurt your parrot, but it’s really a better idea not to take the risk in the first place. Keep Christmas safe for your feathered friend!

What About Christmas Decorations?

It might not seem like something you need to worry about, but Christmas decorations could actually be quite hazardous to your bird. It depends on what sort of decorations you use, but your parrot is likely to be very attracted to shining balls, silver tinsel, gleaming icicles, and anything else you might have on your tree.

These might look a lot like toys to play with, and if your parrot is used to being able to peck at and play with dangling ornaments from its cage, it is much more likely to try and bother your Christmas decorations.

Depending on the ornaments, this may or may not be dangerous. If you have plastic baubles, they probably won’t be harmed by your parrot pecking at them, and won’t do your parrot any harm in turn.

However, if you have glass baubles, spiky ornaments, holly leaves, or anything similar, you may find that these are not safe for your parrot. If the parrot pecks the glass, it might break it, and this could then cut the bird.

Parrots might also hurt their beaks on holly leaves, get tangled up in or ingest tinsel, and otherwise hurt themselves. Glittery ornaments or those with sequins on could also cause a problem, because the bird might try and eat the glitter or the sequins, and could choke or hurt itself on them.

It is best to keep your parrot away from Christmas decorations. If you have anything other than very plain baubles on your tree, you should not allow your parrot to perch in the tree or play with the decorations.

Are Christmas Trees Full Of Chemicals?

This depends on your area and where you source your Christmas trees from, but many are treated with pesticides, insecticides, etc. You may also find that the tree has been sprayed with chemicals to make it look prettier or keep the needles on for longer.

You definitely don’t want your parrot to ingest these chemicals. While they may be safe for humans to have in the home, your parrot is a lot smaller and could be poisoned by them.

Unless you know that your Christmas tree has been sourced from somewhere that does not use chemical treatments, it is best not to let your parrot land in its branches. This is unlikely to be a big problem, but it is not worth taking the risk if you can avoid it.

Is An Artificial Christmas Tree Better?

You might be wondering if a fake Christmas tree is better and safer for your parrot. It depends on the bird, a bit. If your parrot is likely to nibble at or attack a fake Christmas tree, it is potentially more dangerous.

Ingesting fake needles or bits of fake branches could be harmful to your bird. Again, the needles are sharp, and the edges of the plastic could hurt your bird or cause an internal blockage. It is better not to let your parrot land in a fake Christmas tree, but it may want to because it might think it is a real tree.

How Can I Keep My Bird Away From The Tree?

So, if you have concluded that both real and fake trees are unsafe for your bird and you would rather not take any risks this holiday season, what are your options?

You can try to teach your parrot to leave the tree alone. This may work if you have a well-behaved parrot and you know you can reliably train it to keep away from the tree. However, the parrot may still investigate it when you aren’t looking.

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After all, parrots are highly intelligent birds and they may be very interested in finding out what the new tree (with glittery accessories) that has appeared in the home is all about.

It may be safer to keep your parrot out of the room with the Christmas tree. This might mean relocating its cage or keeping the door closed.

You may feel it is sad for your parrot to be left out of the Christmas fun, but your parrot may be both happier and safer being kept upstairs and out of the way, especially if you are going to have guests with pets like dogs, or if you have scented candles around.

Parrots have very sensitive respiratory systems, and candles, potpourri, and cooking smells can all upset them. Even if you’re cooking stuff that is delicious for humans, it might bother your parrot, because a lot of the things that we enjoy are harmful to them.


Pine trees aren’t super dangerous for parrots, but you may not want to let your parrot fly around, settle in, or peck at your Christmas tree. The chances are, your parrot will not hurt itself and will not suffer from any ill effects, but it may be better not to take the risk, just in case something bad happens.

Try moving your parrot upstairs or into another room when your tree is set up. This will keep both your parrot and the tree and its ornaments safe from any potential accidents or harm.