|Birds: General Info|
1. You should not handle a baby bird because the parent bird will then reject it.
In fact, most birds have a poorly developed sense of smell, and human scent on a baby bird has no effect on whether or not the parents will care for it. Therefore, a baby bird found out of the nest, can be returned to the nest without fear that it will be abandoned because a human has touched it. If it is a fledgling (a young feathered bird, able to walk and hop), on the ground it is learning to fly under the watchful of its parents and should be left alone or, at most, be placed in a nearby shrub.
2. You should not throw rice at weddings because when birds eat rice it will swell in their stomachs and make them sick.
The truth is that few birds eat rice(it has little nutrient value), but those birds who do, suffer no ill effects. Cooked or uncooked, some takers of rice are doves, starlings, crows, and some finches and sparrows.
3. Birds will fail to migrate if you do not take down your feeders in the fall.
This myth is most common with hummingbirds. All birds that migrate do so according to a genetic predisposition. For the most part, the birds that migrate to warm climates do so because the food they eat is not available during the cold months, i.e. warblers and insects. The timing of migration is most likely triggered by the length of the day, and not the availability of food. A bird which fails to migrate, due to injury, illness or genetic mis-wiring, may be seen at feeders off season only because of the available food there.
4. Birds will become dependent on your feeders, and will suffer if you stop feeding them in winter.
Birds instinctively know how to find natural food sources. In winter, when it is especially cold and there is snow cover, the birds obviously appreciate readily available food. If that food source disappears, the birds will search elsewhere for natural foods or bird feeders. They will not perch near empty feeders and starve.
5. Birds will choke if you feed them peanut butter.
There has been only one report, in 1961, which concluded that birds found dead after eating peanut butter must have choked on it. No other evidence has supported this finding. Many birds love peanut butter, and it has been a traditional winter staple in many feeding programs with no negative effects on birds. People who are uncomfortable can add cornmeal to their peanut butter at a ratio of one tablespoon cornmeal to one cup peanut butter.
6. Hummingbirds migrate by hitchhiking rides on the backs of Canada Geese.
This myth perpetuates despite the fact that no one has ever seen it and it just isn't at all probable. Geese and hummingbirds migrate at different times, and go to and from different places. These species are not compatible, prefer different habitats, and are not seen in association with each other.
7. Red dye in the nectar in hummingbird feeders is either beneficial or harmful.
Actually the color of the nectar is not important, but the color of the feeding port is what attracts the hummingbird, most feeders are red. The myth that the red dye may be harmful has never been proven in any published studies.
8. Putting up a purple martin house in Massachusetts, will decrease the mosquitoes in your yard.
Primarily, purple martins will only nest in a few specific areas in Massachusetts, areas with vast open areas and lots of water such as Plum Island and certain areas of Plymouth county, so it is unlikely that attracting them to your property will be successful. In addition, purple martins do not eat as many mosquitoes as they do other, larger, daytime flying insects.
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