It's False! 4 Common Myths About Birds


Remember when you were a kid how your mom told you, "Do not pick up the baby bird that fall out of the tree to put it back in the nest or it's mom will abandon it. That's not true. Most birds do not have a very good sense of smell and could not detect human scent. Although, before handling the baby bird it would be best to determine if the bird is a nestling or a fledgling. Nestlings are featherless and fuzzy, and putting them back in the nest would indeed be helpful, because they are too young to be out of the nest. Fledglings have feathers and are old enough to leave the nest, and fledglings often spend several days on the ground as they learn to fly. It is best you do not carry them off to your house to care for them, because its parents are often nearby even if you do not see them. And they can take much better care of their offspring than you can.

You probably have also heard it said that, "you should not feed the birds because your bird feeder should run out of food, the birds will come to depend on you could starve." That is about as true as you starving if the local McDonald's leaves your town. Although, if you are going out of town in extreme cold weather, a sudden disappearance of food, could have a hardship to them. May not be a bad idea to have someone fill your bird feeder while you are away if you leave town during icy and snowy weather.

Which leads to the concern "if I leave out my hummingbird feeder too long in the fall will I prevent the hummers from migrating like they should for the cold weather?" No need to worry. Hummingbirds know when to migrate due to hormonal changes in their body. These hormonal changes are triggered by the shortening length of daylight. The days getting shorter causes the hummingbirds to migrate. Leaving your bird feeders out too long in the fall will not cause the birds to miss their opportunity to migrate because they accidentally hung around too long.

We have often been cautioned not to throw rice at a newly married couples because a bird may swoop down and eat it. And as rice expands in water the bird will blow up. This is not at all true. Mary Jo Cheeseman, a rice expert at the USA Rice Federation says many birds such as migrating ducks and geese depend on rice fields each year to fatten up to have enough strength to migrate to their nesting grounds. "It's a myth. There is no reason why birds, including small song birds, can not eat rice," said Ned Johnson, a professor of biology at Berkeley. Johnson often gives lectures on feeding of birds.