Are Cedar Nest Boxes for Birds Dangerous?

Are Cedar Nest Boxes for Birds Dangerous?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

We recently received this email from a customer:

I was looking at your nest box cams and noticed that your shop carries cedarwood nest boxes.

Not sure if these are somehow treated to prevent off-gassing, but cedar wood is particularly poisonous to birds, especially when the wood has been cut.

I apologize if this is a null point and a response that you get often. On a forum recently we had a person who saw cedarwood nest boxes and decided to make some himself, causing the poisoning and near death of one of his parrots from the finished box being in his bird room. 

Assuming these boxes are treated and fine, perhaps a note with them to prevent such things from happening and from diligent customers like myself writing in. I hope the fact that we’re most likely going to purchase a nest cam from your shop in the not-too-distant future will make up for my need to write in. 


Our answer – Yes they are safe!

Audubon, & Cornell Ornithology Lab sell cedar birdhouses. 

No reputable birdhouse manufacturer ever uses treated wood, and all of the wood used is always kiln dried, so I don’t see how there could be any volatile gases left over to “off gas”.

I’m wondering if the person used aromatic cedar — the kind used for cedar chests — that might, I suppose,give off enough fumes to be harmful to susceptible birds. No one I Know uses this kind of cedar because of the expense. 

There are dozens of species of cedar and the species our houses are made of (northern red cedar) is sold to birding organizations such as Audubon, Cornell, and the North American Bluebird Society, and birding stores such as Wildbirds Unlimited and Wildbird Centers all of whom have very stringent guidelines about the types of woods that can be used in birdhouses.

Hope this clarifies this issue 

Catherine Tobsing
Windy City Parrot, Inc.

Mitch Rezman

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I just planted a small flower garden in my back yard. I used cedar mulch to cover it. I also have several bird feeders hanging from poles that are 5 to 6 feet high in the garden area. Since I did the garden I have not seen any birds at the feeders. Do they not like the smell of cedar?

Leave a Reply

Close Menu