Can Birds Smell or Taste | Birds & Blooms


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Home > Birds > Summer > Coming To Their Senses

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** Coming To Their Senses **

-Can birds smell or taste? It's an age-old debate.-

By George Harrison, Contributing Editor

- Related articles-

· Meet the Backyard Bird-Watcher…George Harrison
· Hummingbird Myths Revealed
· Top 10 Birding Questions

In all my time of studying birds, there's one topic that always elicits a
reaction—when I say birds can't smell or taste.

I'm not surprised that many people have an opinion on this subject. After
watching birds select only certain types of seeds, fruit and suet from
backyard feeders, it's difficult to believe birds don't rely on smell or
taste to determine what to eat.

Even the experts can't agree, despite more than a century of research and
debate. The results of studies in this area are often contradictory or
simply inconclusive


can birds smell

Bird Senses - How Birds Use Their 5 Senses


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** Bird Senses **

*How Birds Use Their 5 Senses*

By Melissa Mayntz, Guide

"Owl Eye"

A bird's vision is its most critical sense.

Hamed Saber
*See More About*

· bird senses
· five senses
· bird anatomy
· parts of a bird
· bird behavior

Birds depend on their senses for survival, and bird senses have adapted to
give birds the edge they need to thrive.

-Understanding Bird Senses-

Birds have the same senses humans do – sight, hearing, touch, taste and
smell – but they are specialized to help birds survive. While a bird's
exact senses depends on its species, all bird senses share certain


A bird's eyesight is its most critical sense and the one it relies on the
most for flight, evading predators and finding food. Birds have a thicker
retina than humans and their eyes are larger in proportion to their head
size. They have much denser rods and cones packed on the retina, giving
them superior vision in both black-and-white and color. The range of colors
birds see is not much greater than humans, but some species, such as
hummingbirds, can see ultraviolet colors.

Where birds' eyesight really excels is in the perception of motion and
detail – birds can see 2-3 times better than humans in that respect. In
many birds, the eyes are positioned further apart on the head, giving them
a wider field of view, and birds with eyes on the sides of their head –
as most songbirds


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