Where we live, there is a lot of wildlife; but this week I was puzzled by the birds. We have a variety of species that I am still in the process of trying to identify, but my question this week isn’t so much about the species type, but about whether or not birds can smell.
I have a clear, acrylic bird feeder that attaches to a window with suction cups. (Wild Birds of Joy Window Bird Feeder). This was recommended to me by a friend and member of my Creative Team, Jenni, and I love it! I attached the bird feeder to my office window and enjoy watching the birds come by to get something to eat throughout the day.
A few days ago, late afternoon, I realized that I hadn’t seen any birds feeding at all that day. I could see that food was still in the feeder, but also noticed that all of the sunflower seeds were gone. The bird seed pack I bought was a mix of seeds. Obviously the birds that discovered my feeder prefer sunflower seeds. So I tossed out the leftover seeds and added a fresh serving to the feeder which, of course, included more sunflower seeds.
I went back into my office and back to work. Within 10 minutes there were birds at the feeder again. So how did they know there were sunflower seeds there again? That’s when I googled, “Can birds smell?” This is what I found (according to birdsandblooms.com) :
Most birds have little use for the sense of smell. The odors of food, prey, enemies or mates quickly disperse in the wind. Birds possess olfactory glands, but they’re not well developed in most species, including the songbirds in our backyards. The same is true for taste, which is related to smell. While humans have 9,000 taste buds, songbirds have fewer than 50.
That means the birds we feed around our homes must locate their food by sight or touch, two senses that are highly developed in birds.
Without a sense of smell, I could just envision those birds sitting around all day, peering at me from their vantage point of a branch or bush, and thinking, WHEN is she going to figure out we want more sunflower seeds and don’t like that other stuff!
Okay, I’ve got it now! Sunflower seeds it is from now now. But on second thought, maybe if I keep the mixed-seeds available, they might draw other bird species eventually as well. Perhaps they’re just a little slow in finding this new food source.
Do you have a bird feeder? What types of birds do you attract? And if you know the name of the bird in the picture below, please let me know. It’s the only bird species that has come to my window so far.