Bird Myths
Lies, Falsehoods, and Old Wives' Tales

A popular belief that is actually an unfounded or false notion

Baby Owls Myth #1 Parents will reject baby bird if human handled it
(Not a week passes without a phone call from someone who has found a baby bird, can see the nest and tells me "won't the parents reject it if I touch it?")


Even in England where I grew up, I heard this and I guessing it has been passed on through successive generations. Truth of the matter is that birds have almost no sense of smell, except for vultures who have evolved to a keen sense of smell as they hunt for dead carcasses. The bond they have with their offspring is fierce and loyal. The bird could care less who handled it previously. They are happy to have baby back.

Baby Ostrich Myth #2 Some birds mate for life


I think humans love the notion of monogamy, loyalty, steadfastness, etc. but in the bird world, there is no morality code, no ceremony of lifetime vows, no Biblical laws against promiscuity. Birds in the main have multiple partners. Even the same hatch of eggs can be fathered by multiple males. Their urge is for the species to survive by reproduction, and that's it. Their urge is not to be faithful, or to give a commitment. There is no such word as " commitment" in the bird universe! (There are some instances of birds bonding for a lifetime but as one dies, the survivor immediately take on another mate.)

Doves Myth #3 Releasing White doves or pigeons at weddings and funerals is safe.


These are raised in captivity and conditioned to be dependent on people and eat seed out of seedcups in their cage. They do not have the skills to survive in the wild and fall to the ground and often starve to death, or get totally dehydrated or become prey to predators. The Park Rangers bring me white doves on the verge of death throughout summer months, released for weddings etc.

Ducklings Myth #4 A Baby bird on the ground who cannot fly needs help.

Often False!
(exception if area is known to have prowling cats)

Unless the baby is injured, it is a normal stage of development for full deathered baby birds to be on the ground while they get their "wings". it takes practice. Birds do not get learn to get airborn and alight on the first flight. The parents will hear their chirping and feed them til they are ready to fly.

Rock Pigeon Myth #5 If you raise a wild bird such as a pigeon, bluejay, mockingbird, etc. it will bond (imprint with humans) and be tame for life, unable to make it in on their own in the wild.


This is so very false, when a bird is ready to fly away, it will. It is the most basic primitive instinct in the bird ~~ to spread those wings and take flight. How could anyone believe this myth? Ever tried leaving a cage or parakeets or cockatiels open? They are gone gone gone no matter who raised them, no matter how tame. Same applies to much larger parrots. They fly away!!

Hummingbird Myth #6 Hummingbird nectar is bad for the hummingbirds


There is absolutely no evidence for this one way or the other. in my LA network, the hummingbird rescuers have dealt with these birds for years and even though hummingbirds need protein ~~ flies, caterpillars, spiders and so on, they can make do on the sugar water (one part sugar or red powder and 4 parts water)
Want to start an adventure with birds ? Buy a Hummingbird feeder (even Costco have them) and fill with the nectar and hang outside. Hummingbirds can get a visio on the feeder from 3/4 mile away!

feeding ducks Myth #7 Feeding bread to geese and ducks is a great family activity


Bread is bad for birds because it offers poor nutritional value. Severe nutritional deficiencies can occur, if bread only is fed. I encourage giving a helping hand to nature by giving them food, ~~anything that aids survival is good and positive~~ but for ducks, please throw in some cracked corn, fresh vegetable trimmings, chopped hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes.

Myth #8 Pigeons carry diseases and even avian flu


"Pigeons are not a public health hazard. Nobody in public health is losing any sleep over pigeons."
- Dr. Joel McCullough, Medical Director, Environmental Health, Chicago Department of Public Health.
"Pigeons do not get avian influenza and don't carry the virus,"
-Dr. Cornelius Kiley, DVM, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Click here for more pigeon facts