Eat like a Bird displayed at 40% of viewport width
March 2019 by V. R. Duin


"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.

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.

Some birds eat toxins, making them deadly to consume. Hemlock-poisoning may result in respiratory failure after eating quail that consumed these seeds. The spur-wing goose consumes toxic beetles for deadly effect.

Parrots in captivity eat about 20% of their body weight per day. This adds up to 1/2 cups (118.3 milliliters) of dry pelleted feed, or more, by package directions. Abundant fresh food provides needed fiber.

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.

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.

Multiply 75 by 150 for 11,250 human calories. This baseline helps calculate the amount of food a person must ingest to keep up with a bird. Basic requirements do not include calories for additional work.

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.

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 and avoid predation.

Birds have different dietary types. Avivores eat other birds. Carnivores eat other meat. Frugivores eat fruit. Granivores eat grains or seeds. Birds urinate, defecate and reproduce through the “cloaca”.

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.

Schedules may change. Gig work may be necessary. To eat like some species, people must pack away a lot of food at daybreak. Some parrots steadily forage all day. In late afternoons, eating may increase.

Dieters 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 when not fried. Greasy foods are harmful.

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.

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”.

Sugar-free candy is disallowed. It is unlikely to help weight loss when chocolate, dairy products, alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks must be eliminated from this diet. Calories are calories.

A puree of foods 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.

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

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.

The 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 beaks and teeth.

There are nocturnal parrots. A person leading a night life may dine during twilight hours. “Night owls” are not shirking food duties. Tired chefs can throw together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

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.

Human food may not suit birds. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Some foods enjoyed by people may not be pleasing to birds. Dates and figs are examples. Many birds refuse these fruits. They may suffer digestive tract problems after consumption.

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.