Four Myths and a Truth All Birders Should Know

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We’ve all heard some outrageous and incredulous stories about birds. I know I have and sometimes it’s hard to decide what to believe or not. Below are a few of my favorite myths, including one truth, about birds, some of which have circulated the social media networks round and round! But you’ll have to decide what you believe for yourself.

An Eagle can fly off with a small child – FALSE!  I say that about the mosquitos we have in Houston!  Lol.  While eagles are extremely strong, and known to be a threat to small pets left unattended, they do not have the strength to lift a small child. Truth is they pose no real threat to humans unless their nests are in jeopardy.

Birds will explode after eating wedding rice – FALSE!  I believed this one for years.  Many people believe that a bird’s stomach will swell and their organs will rupture to the point of explosion after eating rice, and therefore rice should never be thrown during wedding ceremonies. Truth is, many birds eat grains as a significant part of their diet, including wild rice.  In fact, rice as a kitchen scrap is an acceptable source of bird food.

Discarded gum will kill birds – FALSE!  Some have claimed that birds may mistake a piece of discarded chewing gum for food and then choke after swallowing it. Truth is a bird may peck at the gum to see if it’s edible and quickly realize it’s not and leave the gum alone.  In fact, many birds eat mostly insects, and therefore wouldn’t even be interested in a piece of discarded gum.

Birds reject baby chicks after being handled by humans – FALSE!  Truth is, the human scent isn’t enough to cause a parent bird to reject it’s offspring.  That’s because smell is one of the least developed senses in birds and they wouldn’t notice the human’s odor.  The human scent may be dangerous in terms of attracting a cat or snake to a vulnerable chick but not in terms of parents rejecting their babies.

Hummingbirds will eat right out of your hand – TRUE!  Yes! This one is true. Really! Although a controversial topic among birders, hummers will feed right out of the human hand with the appropriate nectar recipe and lots of patience.

If you have a favorite urban bird myth, feel free to share it below. I’m always looking for more and creative urban legends!  Lol.