I see lots of cork used in bird toys.
I don't know much about it, but so many use it, must be okay.
This is a discussion on Cork for Birds, Is it safe? within the Safety Avenue forums, part of the Avian Avenue category.
I know this one. It depends on how the cork is processed. If you can find the unprocessed cork bark it is very safe for birds. I used to sell it but it was a little pricey for a lot of people. As far as the processed cork shapes that you buy it depends on how it was processed. There's about 5 or 6 ways wine corks are made. Only one is safe because it doesn't contain any glues or resins. Cheap wines that do not take years to ferment usually use the cheap wine corks that have lots of glues or resins in. Wine corks used for wines that last decades use the better corks. As far as the craft corks go it just depends on the manufacturer. A lot of the glues and resins used in the ones for wines are natural and the resins are safe for the particular types of wine they are meant for. As far as being safe for birds I would say if you don't mind giving your birds cereal boxes and paper towel rolls that contain glues they would probably be all right but if you're pickier about what your birds get to play with then you may want to fore go them unless you can get the natural bark that hasn't been processed. By the way the cork wood itself is not safe only the bark. The wood contains tanins that are unsafe for birds.
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Cork Oak - (again avoid foliage and acorns) the bark of cork oak is safe for consumption even by humans whose tolerance for tannin is much lower than most bird species.
Cork Oak is a safe wood to leave the bark on. Cork oak has very low levels of tannin (far lower then other oaks) and the bark is just what the name says 'Cork" Cork Oak is originally from southern Europe and is the source of all natural cork. The bark is very thick and well, cork like. It can be found wherever there are old wine growing areas as it was grown to provide corks for the bottles. It is also found scattered around the southeastern US and California. Because of it's very low tannin content it is safe for use in food storage (the cork in the wine bottle, oil bottles, etc.) There is a similar species found native to North America, the Prairie Oak a variety of live oak is found throughout the great plains and east to Ohio. It has a very thick cork like bark, however I do not know what the safety factor for this species would be. Information on the composition of woods and related materials can be found in a number of publications, I don't remember the names off hand, but any university that has a good botany or agronomy department, or your university agricultural extension service should be able to direct you to the appropriate references. When I was researching the safe woods for our birds the Calif State University Fresno Agricultural Dept was more than helpful, completely willing to answer any questions I had and to help me find the references.
Safe and Dangerous Woods
Also found this:
The bark of cork oak is safe for consumption.
The Cork Oak is a safe wood to leave the bark on. Cork oak has very low levels of tannin (far lower then other oaks) and the bark is just what the name says 'Cork"
Wood / Trees / Bushes Considered Safe for Birds
The above site is GREAT because it shows pictures of the trees/blossoms/fruit/leaves of the SAFE trees...but gives what to use of the trees and what NOT to use also....
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Great info! Thanks Shyra and BF.