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 2019 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".

For Dolly's eat like a bird diet, a person must eat a lot relative to size and cannot just peck at food.

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.

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

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 meat or eggs 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.

Birds have different dietary types. Avivores eat other birds. Carnivores eat other meat. Frugivores eat fruit. Granivores eat grains or seeds. Hungry birds may try to eat human-dropped substances inappropriate to their species.

Flower Power? Birds have different nutritional needs. Penguins fast during reproductive cycles. Flying birds quickly digest food to lighten their load. Some birds have crops to hold food for later digestion, avoiding predation.

Lunar Cycle? Schedules may change. Gig work may be necessary. 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.

Drawing Inspiration? Eating becomes a central life focus. A person on a bird-based regime will live to eat, and eat to live. Foragers may collect and store food, like chickadees, blue jays, crows and some woodpeckers.

Birds Eat a Lot Relative to Size

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 person 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 baseline helps calculate the amount of food a person might need to keep up with 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.

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”.

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.

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 the largest available share. Competitive eating establishes birds' “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 rule the brief below video.

Birds Don't Peck at Food.

Hidden Assets? People chew food. Parrots 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.

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.

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.

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.

Good Taste? People may have to cheat. They may have to hold their nose or brush their teeth after ingesting worms, bugs and smelly things. Food textures may be slithery, slimy, rubbery, mealy, stringy or otherwise disgusting.

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.

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.

Be Alert to Quality of Food

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 harmful. Other fruits and vegetables to be avoided for parrots include asparagus, cabbage, dried beans, eggplant, mushrooms, olives, raw onions, rhubarb and tomato leaves.

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.

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.

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 dieting 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)