Eyes Wide Open – Taking Care to NOT Make a Potentially Tragic Error by G.E.T. Creative
I was just sitting here this afternoon, watching football, simultaneously rebuilding and creating new foundations for our foster birds’ toys. I’m using recycled parts from generous donations and also from toys the MDPR birds have done a dandy job of destroying. My goal was to make approximately 20 chain bases/foundations, with bells attached on one end, using O rings.
We had a Ziploc® bag of bells, all used to one degree or another, but…not yet ready for the junk pile. I managed to pilfer through the bag and come up with enough assorted-sized bells in great shape to meet my goal. I was pretty darned excited when I came across a rather large copper cow bell. (These are wonderful for our larger birds, heavy duty, loud and obnoxious, and this one looked like it had some life left in it.)
And then…I looked at the clapper; awfully heavy, dark grey, rounded on the end. Perfect in every way, except that it was a LEAD clapper. How did I know for sure? I took a knife and scraped the metal of the clapper, and it created a shiny new spot. Soft metal. Lead. Deadly. (Please look, too, at the clip hook on the bell: extremely unsafe for birds.)
Lead was used for bell clappers for many years (and may still be). Responsible companies that make toy parts speciﬁcally for parrots have replaced those lead clappers with safe, steel clappers. But…as I found out today, these older bells are still around on old toys, waiting to be repurposed possibly to an unsuspecting new bird.
So, if you are recycling toy parts, take a moment and look at the clappers on those old bells. If you are unsure and you see what I saw, take a utility knife and scrape the metal. If the spot is shiny and the metal is soft, it’s lead and you need to just throw that bell away. It’s not worth taking a chance on what might become a tragic decision if you go ahead and use it. And, if you are purchasing new bells to make your own toys, always make sure that what you are buying is safe for your beloved birds.