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FAQ

Question of the Week

Q. I’m getting married next month. Is it true that rice causes birds’ stomachs to explode?

A. Nope! This myth has been making the rounds on and off, sometimes based on “true” stories that even in this day and age never seem to have any video or photographic support. A great many birds, from waterfowl to Bobolinks, feed on rice in nature. It’s easily digestible. That said, the whole idea of exploding birds is alarming but somehow funny enough to have inspired a Dave Barry column in 2004, but the column itself was based on an untrue rumor.

Even if rice doesn’t harm birds, it is slippery, posing a hazard for people wearing smooth-soled dress shoes. It also may attract rodents.

Past Questions of the Week

Q. What's good nesting material to offer birds?

Q. What is a “Big Day”?

Q. How can I keep birds from hitting my windows?

Q. I often see birds on telephone wires while I’m driving—how do I figure out what they are from such a short glimpse?

Q. Why do woodpeckers like to hammer on houses? And what can I do about it?

Q. I live in a high-rise apartment in the city. How can I attract birds?

Q. There's a bird in my yard I've never seen before. How can I find out what it is?

Q. I’m getting a little tired of winter—What are some of the first spring birds to arrive, and when will they get here?

Q. Why do birds have such elaborate and varied courtship rituals?

Q. How can Bald Eagles survive in northern areas after all the lakes have frozen?

Q. How long do wintering Snowy Owls stay with us before they return to their breeding grounds?

Q. Are cardinals brighter in winter?

Q. Will birds use nest boxes to roost in for warmth during the winter?

Q. There's a hummingbird at my feeder in the dead of winter. Will he be okay?

Q. Is it unusual to see American Robins in the middle of winter?

Q. How do birds survive in very cold temperatures?

Q. Why don't birds get cold feet?

Q. Do birds store food for the winter?

Q. What can you tell us about the habitat associations of partridges and in particular whether pear trees are ever involved?

Q. A hawk has started hunting the feeder birds in my yard. What can I do?

Q. How much do birds eat each day?

Q. Where did the domestic turkey come from?

Q. I thought geese migrated south in the winter and north in the summer. Why did I just see a flock of Canada Geese flying in the "wrong" direction?

Q. Why do migratory birds crash into buildings at night and how can people prevent it from happening?

Q. Where can I go to watch hawk migration?

Q. How do birds prepare for long migrations?

Q. Should I stop feeding birds in fall so they can start their migration?

Q. What is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

Q. I’m seeing fewer birds in my yard. Is something affecting their populations?

Q. I found a baby bird. What should I do?

Q. I found a nest near my house and want to observe it but I am worried about disturbing it. Can you give me any advice?

Q. Sometimes I see little birds going after a big bird. Why do they do this?

Q. My feeders are being overrun with pigeons and blackbirds who eat all the food and keep the smaller birds away. What can I do?

Q. How can I share my bird photos with the Lab?

Q. How do I keep the squirrels in my yard away from my feeders and bird seed?

Q. Where can I go to watch hawk migration?

Q. Should I stop feeding hummingbirds in the fall so that they will migrate?

Q. After birds leave a nest, can I clean out the nest for future use?

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