[Tweeters] Peanut Butter a Good Idea?

J. Acker owler at sounddsl.com
Thu Dec 12 17:37:36 PST 2013

I quote from " Hand Taming Wild Birds at the feeder", a long out of print
book by Alfred Martin of Maine. The book was a gift to me when I was a
teenager (some time ago..)

"When a seed-eating bird feeds entirely on peanut butter, he loses gravel
from his gizzard, and it does not function normally; it shrinks and his
liver becomes enlarged, and the bird is soon very ill or dead.

Some chickadees die soon after eating their first meal of peanut
butter. When they have eaten all they can hold, they cram their little
mouths full of it and carry it away. When they try to deposit the peanut
butter in a hiding place, it sticks to the roof of their mouths; in the
struggle to dislodge it, the butter is packed tighter and the birds choke to

If a female chickadee eats a lot of peanut butter up to the time
she is ready to lay her first egg, she is very apt to die of egg-binding.
Some of my naturalist friends disagree with me on this, but I have had
several chickadees left at my taxidermy studio that have died this way, and
every one of them had been eating peanut butter."

The author then continues relating an incident where he saved an egg-bound
chickadee , and detected peanut butter after the bird laid the egg.

The book has a copyright date of 1963. The book was written "devoted to the
facts borne of some fifty years of living with and among songbirds."

I don't feed peanut butter, and won't until science proves Alfred wrong.

J. Acker

owler at sounddsl.com

Bainbridge Island, WA

From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Charles
Sent: Thursday, December 12, 2013 11:04 AM
To: Tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Tweeters] Peanut Butter a Good Idea?

Hi Tweets. Some years ago I heard that peanut butter can clog a small
bird's mouth because they don't have the salivary wetting action mammals do.
Anyone know if this might be true, and if so, should we be feeding peanut
butter to the little tweets? Thanks.



More information about the Tweeters mailing list