We posted the picture above to our Facebook page on 8/22/2013) and received the following comment
“I am amazed anyone would give their bird a plastic packaging material. They could so easily choke on it”.
I thought I’d share my reply
This is like saying I’m amazed you feed your bird seeds because they can choke on the husk or wood bird toys because they can choke on slivers – there is absolutely nothing wrong with this Julie – birds are smarter than that – we’ve been doing this for 30 years with multiple species and it not that we’re “lucky” that a bird in our care never choked on a fortune cookie wrapper.
Ironically the video below got posted to our Facebook page on 5/3/2017 almost 4 years later with the following comment:
“So the wrapping plastic isn’t an issue? I was going to try what you did with the treat stick and let them open the package themselves but the plastic freaks me out! Is it a risk for them to chew/shred plastic? I have two Pineapple Conures.”
See if you or I don’t chew a piece of meat we could choke. If you or I try to swallow an apricot pit we could choke. The same is not true of birds. We have to masticate (chew) food before we swallow, birds do not.
Hookbill bird’s beaks will remove husks from seeds but for the most part, birds swallow everything whole where the “food” then travels to the “crop” for holding (see the link at the end for the rest of the food trip) Soft bills like finches and canaries eat many seeds husk and all because their bill is well “soft”
Their gizzard (part of the stomach system) literally grinds the larger particulate into a more digestible form. Raptors like Falcons and Owls on the other hand “cast”. We feed them baby quail (bought frozen) and when hunting falcons eat small birds, while hawks tend to eat small mammals. Quails, birds and mammals are eaten completely bones and all.
Several hours later while the crop is emptying they will “cast” or regurgitate fairly solid indigestible “chunks” of bone and fur which is why I never hold a falcon over my lap when seated – hope that clarifies things.
The moral of the story is? You needn’t make foraging harder than it needs to be.
Written by Mitch Rezman Approved by Catherine Tobsing