Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re wondering: “What kind of paper is safe for birds?”. No worries, I got you covered as I’ve done a ton of research for a definite answer. Here’s what I found:
Any paper that does not contain any adhesive, glue, acid, coloring, or chemicals is considered bird-safe. Examples of bird-safe paper include computer paper, newspaper, butcher paper, and toilet paper. Most toilet paper rolls and cardboards contain adhesives and should be avoided unless stated otherwise.
Now you know some bird-safe paper examples, continue reading as I list out clearly what paper can or cannot be used. I’ll also cover some FAQs. Read on!
Importance of Choosing Bird-Safe Paper
Before I cover the types of bird-safe papers in detail, let me quickly mention how important is it that you choose the right bird-safe paper!
I am deeply concerned about this as I don’t want you to make the same mistake as some bird owners online who lost their feathered friends… Excuse my frankness about this, but I’d rather be direct about it and protect your birds.
Here are 3 reasons why you should choose bird-safe paper types:
1) Toxic Coloring Used In Some Paper Types
Many bird owners start to get bored of letting their birds play with newspapers as a foraging toy after a while. Some choose to start letting them play with colored paper, not knowing whether the coloring can be toxic for their birds.
Picking paper with non-toxic coloring can be tricky, and this has led to serious repercussions bird owners had to face.
2) Toxic Adhesives Used In Some Paper Types
Adhesives are one of the materials that are considered toxic for birds to consume or even to rip apart with their beaks.
Many commonplace items are homes like envelopes, post-its, and other types of craft paper that may contain adhesives that are toxic to birds.
3) Dangerous Items In Some Paper Types
It’s not just chemicals that can cause harm to birds.
Some owners let their birds play with cardboard, not knowing that sometimes the cardboard box itself is held together by dangerous metallic items like staples. If birds accidentally chew on it, it could cause harm and bleeding.
What Kind Of Paper Is Safe For Birds?
Here’s a table summarizing what types of paper is safe for birds:
|Paper Type||Safe For Birds?||Extra Notes|
|Computer Paper||Yes||Non-toxic if not colored|
|Printer Paper||Yes||Non-toxic if not colored|
|Newspaper||Yes||Print is non-toxic for birds|
|Cardboard||Yes||Remove all adhesives and staples|
|Coffee Filter Paper||Yes||Non-toxic|
|Parchment Paper||Yes||Must be unbleached|
|Scrapbook Paper||No||Coloring may be toxic to birds|
|Card Stock Paper||No||Coloring may be toxic to birds|
|Colored Paper||No||Coloring may be toxic to birds|
|Paper envelope||No||The flap may contain glue/adhesive|
|Crepe Paper||No||Coloring leaks and may be toxic to birds|
|Toilet paper roll||No||Contains adhesives, yes if no adhesives are included|
You’ll see that I also avoid any paper with coloring. I recommend not using any colored paper as it would take too much technical research on chemicals just to determine whether it is bird-safe.
Also, even if the coloring is bird-safe, you still wouldn’t want your bird to be ingesting it in large amounts! (Your bird will probably rip it apart really quickly anyway, so there’s no point really going for a colorful and pretty foraging toy!)
One thing to add here, playing with paper can really trigger birds to be in a ‘foraging mode‘ where they can get really feisty and end up in a fight. Read an article here where I discuss why birds attack each other!
One very important note! You’ll notice that for the toilet paper and the paper towels, I listed them as bird-safe. I want to add a caveat to that:
Don’t let birds chew up the portion of where the paper is glued to the toilet roll. That portion contains adhesives and is toxic for birds.
Types of Bird-Safe Paper And Papers To Avoid
Our birds are our precious little family members, so we need to take extra care of them. This even extends to paper that is safe and appropriate for them to play and to rip apart for fun!
Our birds deserve to have fun safely. For that, I’ve looked through tons of forums and discussions online and offline to get these answers.
Generally speaking, bird-safe paper is any type of paper that does not contain any of the following materials:
- Toxic Dyes
Disclaimer: I am not a vet and am in no way an expert in this, but I have taken a VERY conservative stance on the types of paper that can be used. As this concerns our dear bird family members, I won’t want anything bad to happen to them!
If you’re new to birds foraging and ripping apart paper and you wonder why it happens, check out another article I wrote on why birds eat paper here!
Okay, so now that you are armed with this information, let me just cover some FAQs that you may have on this:
If you’d like to learn about how to paint a cage for your bird and are wondering what kind of paint is safe for that, check out this awesome article I wrote that you need to read first!
Is It Safe for Birds to Play with Paper?
It is safe for birds to play with paper. However, the paper cannot contain any adhesive, glue, acid, coloring, or chemicals. Examples of bird-safe paper include computer paper, newspaper, butcher paper, and toilet paper. Most toilet paper rolls and cardboards contain adhesives and are not safe for birds.
Is Crepe Paper Safe For Birds?
Crepe paper is not safe for birds. Crepe paper contains coloring that runs when birds chew and shred paper for foraging purposes. The crepe paper coloring may be toxic for birds, depending on the individual crepe paper product. A bird-safe alternative to crepe paper is coffee filter paper or tissue paper.
Is Paper Towel Safe For Birds?
Paper towels are safe for birds to play with and for their foraging behavior. Paper towels are non-toxic to birds if they are accidentally swallowed. However, the portion of the paper towel that is held to the paper towel roll contains toxic adhesives that should not be given to birds to use.
Are Paper Towel Rolls Safe For Birds?
Paper towel rolls are not safe for birds to play with for their foraging behavior purposes. Paper towel rolls contain toxic adhesives that stick the toiler paper to themselves which is not safe for bird consumption. However, paper towel rolls that specifically state to not use adhesives are safe for birds.
Is It OK If My Budgies Eat Paper?
It is OK for budgies to eat paper. Paper without any adhesives, toxic chemicals, and metallic objects is safe for budgies to play with. However, younger budgies should not be allowed to play around with paper in case to prevent any obstruction of their digestive tracts.
Can Birds Play With Toilet Paper Rolls?
Birds should not be allowed to play with toilet paper rolls. Toiler paper rolls contain toxic adhesives that stick toilet paper to their rolls which make them unsafe for birds to play with. However, birds can play with toilet paper rolls that do not have any adhesive that sticks the toiler paper to their rolls.
Is Cardboard OK For Birds?
Cardboard is considered ok for birds to play with and for their foraging behavior like shredding and them ripping apart. However, extra care must be taken to remove any metallic objects like staples or toxic materials like adhesives/glue on the cardboard pieces before birds are allowed to play with them.
Is Colored Paper Safe For Birds?
Colored paper is generally not safe for birds to play with for foraging. Most colored paper is not cleared for bird consumption and will run when in contact with their saliva. However, any colored paper that is specifically made for birds foraging can be considered safe for birds.
Is Tissue Paper Safe For Birds?
Tissue paper is safe for birds to play with and for their foraging behavior purposes. Tissue paper does not contain any toxic chemicals that can cause harm to birds. However, colored tissue paper may contain toxic coloring that runs when in contact with bird saliva.
Is Wrapping Paper Safe For Birds?
Wrapping paper is not safe for birds to play with for their foraging behavior. Wrapping paper contains toxic coloring dyes that may run when in contact with bird saliva, causing harm to birds. A safer alternative to wrapping paper for birds will be newspaper or coffee filter paper.
Is Construction Paper Safe For Birds?
Construction paper is not safe for birds. Most construction papers contain toxic coloring that may run when in contact with bird saliva. Safer non-colored alternatives to construction paper include coffee filter paper and computer paper.
Are Toilet Paper Rolls Safe For Birds?
Toilet paper rolls are not safe for birds to play with for their foraging behavior purposes. Toilet paper rolls contain toxic adhesives that stick the toiler paper to themselves which is not safe for bird consumption. However, toilet paper rolls that specifically state to not use adhesives are safe for birds.
Can I Use Shredded Paper For Bird Cages?
Shredded paper can be used for bird cages. However, the shredded paper used must be bird-safe. Any paper that does not contain any adhesive, glue, acid, coloring, or chemicals is considered bird-safe and can be placed inside bird cages for birds to shred and play with.
Is Printer Paper Safe For Budgies?
Printer paper is safe for budgies. Printer paper is safe for birds to shred as it does not contain any non-toxic chemicals. However, if the printer paper is colored, then the colored dye may leak and may be toxic for birds.
Is Parchment Paper safe For Birds?
Parchment paper is safe for birds. Parchment paper does not contain any toxic chemicals that can harm a bird. However, parchment paper must be unbleached to be considered bird-safe.
Is Paper Safe for Birds?
Paper can be safe for birds if it is used appropriately. Some bird species, such as sparrows, may use paper to craft their nests. If using paper for a nest, make sure that the material is not toxic or treated with chemical compounds and that it is cut into small pieces so that it does not overly weigh down the nest. Additionally, avoid using glossy papers as birds may mistake them for water and attempt to drink from them.
Hopefully, through this article, you would have learned what were the best paper types that are safe for your birds to play with.
I hope you have found this article useful and I wish your bird many happy hours ripping apart your daily newspapers! Happy birding!
My Recommended Birding Resources:
Hey there, Justin here!
Here’s a list of all my favorite resources, products, and brands I trust and love.
Safe Paint for Bird Baths Guide: Learn about non-toxic paint for painting bird baths.
Safe Sealers for Bird Baths Guide: Learn which sealers are safe for bird baths.
Safe Paint for Bird Feeders Guide: Learn what special care needs to be taken to paint bird feeders with the right paint.
Safe Paint for Birdhouses Guide: Learn about non-toxic paint for painting birdhouses. (Not the same as bird baths!)
Bird Identification Apps Guide: 2 of my favorite birding apps are Merlin Bird ID, and eBird Mobile! Merlin is great for tracking and identifying birds, and eBird Mobile is great for tracking the birds sighted when birding.
Check out my resources page for the full list of resources I recommend!
Justin is the founder and author of Birding Outdoors. He is a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) alumnus with a Bachelor of Biological Sciences and a former data analyst.
Now, Justin runs the Birding Outdoors blog full-time, hoping to share his deep love for birds, birding, and nature with others.
To unwind, Justin enjoys gaming and reading.