The 7 Most Outrageous Myths About Birds

If you're familiar (or want to become familiar) with birds, get acquainted with some of the most common myths surrounding the animal. Learn more about these myths below, and use them to inform your decisions to care for your bird, taking extra care to do your own research and talk to your vet before starting or changing your bird's routine and care.

Outrageous Myth #1: You must boil beans meant to feed your bird for at least an hour.

This isn’t the case at all. The recommended time to boil beans to render them safe for our flocks is different for each type of bean. The recommendation is 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. 

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

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. Some birds love showers, and once you establish that routine, they will most likely learn to enjoy them as well. It makes them feel good!

bird taking a shower
Patricia Sund

Outrageous Myth #3: Parsley is toxic to birds.

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. 

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

While some parrots will end up trying to eat the seed and exclude everything else, it simply means that 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.

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

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

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 refrain from offering grit to them.

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

This point is a myth because of how much rice is readily available in fields across the world, with no detriment to birds. Likely, 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. 

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

With a few exceptions, birds have a lousy sense of smell. 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.