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Hi all- this is one of those silly little stories that doesn't quite fit anywhere else, but I wanted to share.
Today Alex was working on an outline for a story about King Arthur. The workbook with the original article was lying open in front of him, and Bubbles was "helping" by perching on his shoulder. After a bit he set his pencil down on the book and let Bubbles perch on it to stretch his legs. Bubbles immediately jumped down and began running his tongue all over the page like he was licking the words. Alex squealed and said, "Mom, look!" I walked over, saw the bird licking the book, and asked Alex what he was doing. His answer, in the most excited voice ever: "He's reading!!!"
So, did ya'll know budgies read with their tongues? I learn something new every day
That is a very cute story
However (and I'm sorry to dampen the mood a bit) on a serious note, the lead from the pencil (or lead in general) is highly toxic to birds and can cause them to become gravely unwell with lead poisoning. the fact that he has licked over the words would be concern enough for me to take him to the vet if it was my bird.
I'm sorry, Niamh! Let me clarify- he was licking a printed book, not pencil written words. It was a paper workbook with printed words- not as glossy as a magazine, bu Not like smeary newsprint. We removed him from the book pretty quickly, worried that he might poop on it. Thank you for caring and posting- it is important to remember all the dangers our little friends can face and how to protect them!
Edited to add: Now that you say that, though, Niamhf, it's made me think- we have lots of pencils around in that room. Although we are in there with him, and know not to let him chew them, he is a busy budgie. I can imagine a scenario where we are distracted and he becomes curious about a pencil. The thought makes me feel sick- we adore this baby. I'm going to be relocating all our pencils to a drawer today, and we'll only take one out when we are using it. I thought we had budgie proofed that room pretty well, too! Thanks for putting that thought into my head!
Pencils don't contain lead anymore, at least here in the US. The "lead" (it's still called that despite not having lead in it) is graphite mixed with clay, which I was told is supposed to be non-toxic? Granted I still don't let mine chew on them because I don't know what's in the paint or what type of wood.
I'm still giggling at the thought of a little budgie licking the words on a book. They totally crack me up! Never a dull moment with our little feathered friends!
While Sassy is correct that pencil "lead" is now actually graphite, according to the Poison Control Center "Graphite and other components of a pencil are considered to be minimally toxic". And in "minimally toxic" they are referring to if the components are ingested by children - not budgies.
Therefore, it is best that budgies not be allowed to chew on pencils or ingest particles from them.