Stainless steel is a metal alloy, which means it’s a mixture of two different elements: iron and chromium. Regular steel is a mixture of iron and carbon. The mixture of iron and chromium makes stainless steel more resistant to rust, corrosion, and stains (thus the name) than regular steel.
Stainless steel is the most common metal used in products for pet birds, such as cages and pet bird toy parts, because other metals may contain zinc, which is toxic to birds. For example, galvanized steel, another common rust-resistant metal, is just steel that has been coated with zinc. The zinc makes it more resistant to rust, but it also makes it dangerous for your pet bird. Stainless steel is safe and durable, so your pet bird can chew on it all she wants. This doesn’t mean it will never rust, but your pet bird can use a stainless steel product for a lot longer before you have to worry about it.
The trend to make housing items out of stainless steel, which then led to creating stainless steel bird cages, began in the late 1990s. One started seeing kitchen items, such as ovens and refrigerators, in stainless steel and next thing you know it, stainless steel became all the rage — and it still is quite popular to this day. Taking the lead from these lifestyle trends, bird cage manufacturers started creating stainless steel cages in the early 2000s and you can find a plethora of them in avian stores today.
Fun fact: Not only are bird cages made of stainless steel, but famous buildings are too. New York City’s Chrysler Build, constructed in 1929 and at time the world’s tallest building, used stainless steel for the upper structure and the roof. Today, stainless steel was one of the materials used to clad the outside of the world’s current tallest building (as of 2011), the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Environmental fact: Stainless steel should always be recycled. A lot of stainless steel today is created from recycled stainless steel.