This image depicts Dolly with a vast array of fresh food for her eat like a bird diet, displayed at 40% of viewport width.
March 2020 by Terry Verduin


"Ack, Ack! Ack! Don't be cheap.
Bring us goodies, bring us a treat.
We don't have to wait on you.
You must share the work load, too".

Anyone attempting Dolly's eat like a bird diet must eat a lot relative to size and cannot just peck at food, because they may use their feet as well as their beaks.

Gobble, Gobble?

Fine Focus? Gobble, gobble takes on new meaning. Gobbling may be the major task for most days. Friends without feathers and beaks are likely to gain weight. Unlike birds, people burn little energy “flying around”.

Drawing Inspiration? Eating is a bird's central life focus. A person on a bird-based regime remains alert to food at all times. Foragers may collect and store food; like chickadees, blue jays, crows and some woodpeckers.

Different Avian Dietary Types? Avivores eat other birds. Carnivores eat other meat. Frugivores eat fruit. Granivores eat grains or seeds. Hungry birds may eat human-dropped substances inappropriate to their digestive systems.

Flower Power? Birds follow different dining regimes. Penguins fast during reproductive cycles. Flying birds quickly digest food to lighten their cargo. Some birds avoid predation with crops to hold food for later digestion.

Antacid? A parrot species native to New Zealand, the Kea, is known to attack and kill sheep for meat. Peruvian parrots eat clay to detoxify the plant poisons they ingest. Lorikeets survive on flower nectars, like hummingbirds.

Hit Man? Some birds eat toxins with deadly effects on people. Respiratory failure from hemlock-poisoning may result after eating quail containing these seeds. The spur-wing goose consumes toxic beetles for deadly consequences.

Culture Club? Variety matters to all animals. People have a tendency to apply personal food regimes to household pets. Dietary deficiencies, obesity and chronic illness can result. Pets are less active than wild counterparts.

Birds Eat a Lot Relative to Size

Pure Poetry? Whoever came up with the saying, “eat like a bird”, did not do research. For Dolly's eat-like-a-bird diet, a person has to devour large quantities of food. They cannot survive on banana slug nibbles.

Wait and See? People are surprised how much birds consume. The website for Cornell University Lab of Ornithology gives insights into avian appetites. It also has guides, cams and other ornithological information for birders.

Sorbet Style? Parrots in captivity eat about 20% of their body weight per day. Package directions call for 1/2 cups (118.3 milliliters) of dry pelleted feed, or more. Abundant fresh food provides needed fiber.

Long View? The average 150-pound (68 kilograms) person has trouble on this diet. The average human consumes 2,000 calories per day. Assume a parrot weighs one pound (0.45 kilogram) and takes in 75 calories per day.

Curves Ahead? Multiply 75 by 150 for 11,250 human calories. This poundage helps calculate the amount of food it takes for a person to survive like a bird. Basic requirements do not include calories for additional work.

Round Trip? Flying, running and swimming burn energy. Aerial species tend to expend the most energy. Zoologist David L. Goldstein presents metabolic information in Estimates of Daily Energy Expenditure in Birds.

Dining Schedules

Lunar Cycle? Gig work and schedule changes may accompany the avian diet. To eat like some species, people must pack away a lot of food at Early Bird daybreak. Others forage all day. Late afternoon binging may increase.

Home Sweet Home? There are nocturnal parrots. A person leading a night life may dine during twilight hours. Night owls need not shirk food duties. Tired chefs can throw together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Style Awakening? Does this diet allow time to sleep? Parrots sleep upright with one eye open. They are half-asleep and half-alert. They break up their sleep periods. These habits may not be possible or healthy for people.

Beware of the Ills? Not going to bed on time, makes it hard to wake up in the morning. Feeling groggy and tired all day is one symptom of sleep deprivation. Disruptive sleep patterns can cause severe anxiety disorders.

Peak Season? Binge eating is a disorder involving consumption of large food quantities in short time periods. This out-of-control eating results in discomfort. It often accompanies holidays or athletic event preparations.

Chain Reaction? A feeding frenzy is common and normal in the animal kingdom. Sharks and piranhas are not the only animals competing for largest available shares. Quantity establishes the hierarchical “pecking order”.

Master Stroke? Bird Feeder Frenzy sets the stage for fun and games. People compete as birds against birds and animals in a variety of bluffing and guessing downloads. Big appetites also rule the brief video below.

Birds Don't Peck at Food.

Hidden Assets? People chew food. Birds swallow it whole or chop it with beaks and claws. Gizzards complete the “chewing” process for birds, reptiles, earthworms, mollusks, insects and some fish. People have no gizzard.

View Finder? Search for a hen's tooth will be unending. Most birds have no teeth. Brushing teeth is not for birds. The Goosander Tooth Duck, also called a “saw-bill”, is one of few animals with both a beak and teeth.

Fancy Footwork? The parrot is the only bird that uses its feet to carry food to its mouth. Two toes are front facing and two are rear facing. The toe arrangement resembles a primate's finger with opposable thumb.

Biting Power? Do not underestimate the power of these creatures to inflict serious damage to fingers. Some parrots have been known to crack open the hardest of nuts, like macadamia nuts. Mishandling comes with risks.

Moving Targets? Birds dive-bomb, dig in the ground, stand in shallow water, hang around lights and chase food around. Scavenging in lawns and raiding orchards or gardens is likely to upset owners and growers.

Down the Hatch

Avian Influenza? Birds urinate, defecate and reproduce through a single cloaca opening. Contaminated meat or eggs have infected consumers in Asia, Europe and Africa. Undercooked, these foods may transmit salmonella.

Transitory? Birds, reptiles, amphibians, most fish and monotremes have a cloaca. Humans and other mammals have an embryonic cloaca. It splits into separate waste and reproductive tracts, disappearing with organ maturation.

On the Loose? Parrots eat melon seeds first. They do not swallow the rind. They love scrambled eggs with the shells. Chicken, turkey, eggs or fish must be lean and unseasoned. Leftover food should be removed before spoiling.

Good Taste? People may hold their noses or quickly brush their teeth after eating like a bird. Worms, bugs and smelly things may disgust human diners. Avian food textures may be slithery, slimy, rubbery, mealy or stringy.

Be Alert to Quality of Food

Holding Forth? Diners discover birds are not party animals. Popcorn must be served without butter. A fowl may become foul after consuming some fast foods. Potatoes are fine, unless fried. Greasy foods are harmful.

Life and Death Matter? Some foods enjoyed by people may not be pleasing to birds. Dates and figs may cause digestive tract problems after consumption. Many birds refuse these fruits.

Wide Angle? Human food may not suit beaks. Avocados don't belong on shopping lists. Cooked porridge dries and sticks to beaks. Seeds or pits of apples, apricots, cherries, nectarines and peaches are toxic to parrots.

Breaking Bread? Bread is high-calorie, low-nutrient, junk food. It can swell after ingestion. Salty foods cause fluid retention, increasing the risks of heart failure, cancer, and bone or kidney disease.

Angel Wing? This incurable wing deformity largely occurs in human-fed waterfowl. The probable culprit is bread. Its nutritional deficiencies and high levels of carbohydrates and sugars render victims flightless.

Focus Group? Moldy bread is particularly harmful. Fruits and vegetables to be avoided by parrots include asparagus, cabbage, dried beans, eggplant, mushrooms, olives, raw onions, rhubarb and tomato leaves.

Food Tricks

Organic Forms? Pureed food may meet with warm receptions. Birdseed, pellets, grains, vegetables and fruits must be kept on hand. Organic and clean, fresh foods are preferable. Empty seed hulls falsely make bowls appear full.

On the Block? Sugar-free candy is disallowed. The forced elimination of chocolate, dairy products, alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks from this diet is unlikely to help weight loss. Calories are calories.

Seeing Red? Medications should not be hidden in food or water. Parrots have strong senses of smell and taste. They may refuse to sample anything with a “tainted” odor. Force-feeding methods may be indicated.

Quality Control? Vitamin and mineral requirements differ among animals. Supplementation with vitamin D3 is important for indoor parrots. It is important to provide specific avian vitamins. Plumage has special needs.

Free Spirit? A person is welcome to try the avian diet. A pet rarely can eat the same pet food daily and receive proper nutrition. It is not healthy for people to eat like their pets. This eating challenge should not last long.

Scenic Route? In the following video, the author's “grand chicks” chow down on plain ramen noodles. Chirping is random. The video was provided courtesy of her daughter. (17 seconds)