The Seven Most Outrageous Myths About Birds

  • 01 of 08

    The Things People Believe!

    Here's Another Myth For You!. The Image Bank/ Getty Images

    Myths on the internet abound. What used to be thought of as the "Gospel Truth" is now being outed as nearly a myth. I’ve seen some real classics and occasionally I’ll get an email or a private message from someone asking me if this or that is true. Why are they asking me? Because they read it on the internet. (And we all know if it’s on the internet, it has to be true. I do wish this was the case, but it’s not.) I have seen many of them but these are the ones I see most often. 

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  • 02 of 08

    Outrageous Myth #1: You must boil beans for at least an hour.

    Beans are Easily Soaked and Cooked. Bill Boch/ Getty Images

    This isn’t the case at all. I have done extensive research on this and the recommended time to boil beans to render them safe for our flocks is different for each type of bean. I always recommend that you follow the cooking time listed on the package just to be safe. However this is after soaking them overnight and rinsing them well to remove the Phytohaemagglutinin, one of a class of proteins called lectins. This needs to be deactivated by soaking the beans, rinsing and boiling. After soaking and rinsing several times, following the package instructions will be sufficient to ensure this toxin is out of the bean and make it safe and nutritious for your bird. 

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  • 03 of 08

    Outrageous Myth #2: Birds don’t need to bathe because they preen their feathers.

    Parker Loves Shower. Patricia Sund

    Poppycock! Birds in the wild take a shower every time it rains. You also see birds in the wild taking baths in shallow puddles. A shower for your companion bird in the bottom of a bathtub a couple of times a week removes dust, dander and any food particles they may have on their plumage. It makes them feel good and a shower is very enriching for them. My birds love showers and once you establish that routine, they will most likely learn to enjoy them as well. It makes them feel good. 

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  • 04 of 08

    Outrageous Myth #3: Parsley is toxic to birds.

    Parsley Is Good For Your Bird. Jonathan Lovekin/ Getty Images

    Nope. Not even remotely true. I’ve been adding parsley to my bird’s food for eons and have never had an issue. I don’t know where this myth began but it’s simply not even remotely true. Parsley is actually excellent for your bird. It has all kinds of good stuff in it: iron, beta carotene, vitamins B1, B2 and Vitamin C. Parsley is also very rich in minerals: potassium, calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium. So throw a little parsley in their Chop next time you make it. 

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  • 05 of 08

    Outrageous Myth #4: Sunflower seed will turn birds into sunflower seed junkies.

    Sunflower Seeds Won't Turn Your Bird Into An Addict!. Jim Frazee/ Getty Images

     I was told this years ago as well when I got my first African Grey. It’s simply not true. While some parrots will end up trying to eat the seed and exclude everything else, it’s not because they’re addicted to them. It means they love the seed. And just like everything else, moderation is key. The issue with feeding an all-seed diet is that many seeds are high in fat and don’t contain many of the nutrients that they need to maintain their health. Keep up an all seed diet and you’ll have a sick parrot on your hands after some time. But there is nothing in a sunflower seed that turns them into an addict. 

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  • 06 of 08

    Outrageous Myth #5: I need to buy that bag of grit in the store for my parrot.

    No Grit! No Way!. © Jackie Bale/ Getty Images

     Absolutely not! No! Parrots shell their seed before eating them. The birds that need grit are those that eat seed whole. Pigeons and doves are two good examples of birds that eat their seed with the hull still on it. But parrots don’t need grit. As a matter of fact, grit can cause harm by causing crop impaction. So please refrain from offering grit to them. 

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  • 07 of 08

    Outrageous Myth #6: Rice thrown at a wedding will make wild birds explode.

    No, Rice Doesn't Kill Birds. TommL/ Getty Images

    I laughed when I first read this and it seems to be a prevalent myth that is, you guessed it, on the internet. Snopes even has this myth at their rumor control website. Think about this. They grow a lot of rice in Asia. And you can bet birds are going to be eating it out in the fields. There would be no birds left alive over there if this was true. I think the reason people throw bird seed at weddings is that birds will probably more readily eat the bird seed and it’s less for someone to clean up after the seed is thrown. My bet is that church maintenance guys began this myth to save them some cleanup knowing that most wild birds eat the entire seed. 

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  • 08 of 08

    Outrageous Myth #7: Mom will abandon her baby if you touch it.

    Baby Birds Need To Fly. Life On White Photodisc/ Getty Images

     First of all a mother is a mother and that is her child. Second, with a few exceptions, birds have a lousy sense of smell so this probably doesn’t even enter into the picture. If the baby is featherless and obviously too young to even move around much, put the baby back into the nest. If it has feathers and appears to be a small but fully feathered bird, leave it alone. It is a fledgling and needs to learn to fly. The watchful parents are nearby and being on the ground for a day or two is part of the process of learning to reach the sky.