Wildlife Officials Issue Warning About Drunk Birds

Wildlife Officials Issue Warning About Drunk Birds

Every now and again, people get a little inebriated. However, as wildlife experts warn, birds also occasionally show up to the party a little tipsy.

In a recent social media post, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division said it’s the time of year for drunk birds. They explained that in the spring, it’s common for fruit-eating birds like cedar waxwings and American robins to eat fruit that has started to rot and ferment. That fermentation produces alcohol, which can cause the birds to behave much like a person would when drinking.

The agency wrote, “The consumption of these fermented fruits can cause the birds to lose much of their coordination and capacity to fly. This can cause them to crash into windows and other obstacles.”

They add that if too much fermented fruit is consumed, the birds could even die of alcohol poisoning.

If you’d like to help our tipsy winged friends avoid window collisions, there are a few things you can do. The Nashville Zoo suggests putting bird feeders within three feet of your window, as this doesn’t allow a bird to get too much momentum if it were to hit the window after flying off the feeder. You can also close curtains or blinds or add decorations to your window to make it clearer that it isn’t something to fly through. Being a little less particular about cleaning windows can help, too. If you’re able to do so, you can also notify a wildlife rehabber when you spot a drunk bird. It will give the animal a safe place to sober up.

Audubon explains that first frosts mark the beginning of the inebriated bird issue, but it gets worse in the spring when fermented berries and crabapples thaw. The cold temperatures concentrate sugar in fruit, and then the rising temperatures speed up the breakdown of sugars. The resulting alcohol is much stronger than that in other fermented berries.

Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources says this can teach us all a lesson: “Learn from our feathered friends and consume fruits responsibly.”

Michelle Milliken

Michelle has a journalism degree and has spent more than seven years working in broadcast news. She's also been known to write some silly stuff for humor websites. When she's not writing, she's probably getting lost in nature, with a fully-stocked backpack, of course.

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