We’re torn between being fascinated by birds and equally terrified by them. (Thanks a lot, Alfred Hitchcock!) No matter where you stand on the issue, we have some facts about birds that we think you’ll find fascinating. And also probably terrifying. We sense a theme here. Let’s get started!
Ravens are like, really good at mimicking human speech and random sounds. Not only are they considered just as good, if not better, than parrots when it comes to mimicking human speech, but they are also capable of mimicking sounds such as car engines. Ravens use this skill to their advantage in the wild by mimicking predators and attracting them to carcasses they can’t crack open themselves. Disgusting, but also genius.
Pigeons are crazy smart. Not only can they recognize human faces, but scientists say they can even learn to read, recognizing roughly 50 words. And taking it a step further even, pigeons can recognize a word versus a non-word.
Cardinals, and several other bird species, do this thing called “anting” where they cover themselves in crushed or living ants. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why they do this, but they believe it has something to do with the formic acid they secrete in the process, which allows them to remove parasites from their bodies.
The metabolism rate of a hummingbird is unmatched. In fact, a grown man would have to eat 285 pounds of meat per day to maintain his weight if he had the metabolism of a hummingbird. And while we’re on the topic, hummingbirds weigh less than a nickel.
Owls are one of those birds that we thought were super adorable until we saw them move their heads in a circle, and to add fuel to that fire, owls swallow animals whole. Not large ones like raccoons, but insects and mice get swallowed whole, then the parts they can’t digest like bones and fur, get regurgitated back up.
Imagine having to fart to find your food. Do we have your attention? Good. Because Bassian thrushes have to fart to locate worms to eat. Their gas forces earthworms to move so the birds can find them. Nature is amazing.
Swiftlets build nests from their hardened saliva, and in some countries, these nests are considered a delicacy. In fact, in China, there exists a dish known as bird’s nest soup which is topped with a swiftlet nest. These nests have no flavor and no nutritional value and are one of the most expensive foods in the world.