You Sweet Thang…

Red-eyed vireo
Red-eyed vireo

Another thud, another bird down.  I run outside to find this little cutie, one foot clinging onto a dead leaf, mouth agape and on his side.  Awe…poor little kid.  Ok…on with the routine.  Pick him up, perch him on my hand, talk to him a little and stroke his little head and back.  His little eyelids closed and opened slowly, surely a sign of dizziness and confusion.  So as I was standing there with him, I noticed a really nice smell.  It certainly wasn’t coming from me, so I sniffed the bird.  Yep…that’s where it was coming from!  It smelled just like men’s cologne!?  Strong enough that for a second there, I thought it had been handled by someone else just moments before!  Surely that couldn’t have been it.  I recall reading an article saying that birds DO use their sense of smell, which had never been studied before.  So that led me to learn more about why this bird smelled so nice.

It was taking a while for this one to ‘wake up’, so when that happens, I like to slowly walk them to the back porch for a while.  That’s what I did and eventually, he hopped off of my hand onto the rail.  I was trying to be still so I didn’t spook him and make him fly off too early.  I had been looking down and then I looked at the bird and saw a blue berry in its mouth!?  Where did THAT come from!?  I can’t remember if he dropped it or swallowed it but I thought, well maybe he regurgitated it.  Then seconds later, I saw a red berry come out of its mouth.  That one, he dropped.  I wonder if he thought his accident had been attributed to what he ate.  Soon thereafter, he flew into the tree.

I searched for ‘bird smells good’ and came across that article I had read a while back.  It said that they really DO give off a scent and that it’s important to birds when looking for a mate.  The more ‘girly’ or ‘masculine’ one smells, the better chance of mating!  Wow…pretty neat!!  Then I got kind of grossed out when I read that their scent glands are located by their tail and they take the scent from there and apply it to their bodies (just like a lot of animals do).  Well, ok…live and learn.  At least it smelled GOOD.

I hit ‘back’ and look for more information on this and come across a blog post talking about how someone had this bird and noticed it smelled really good too!  I’m reading and right in the middle of the post is the same picture as my bird!  Amazing!  They said the smell came from the berries it ate (magnolia) so the riddle was solved.  I wasn’t going crazy.  And hopefully the bird learned that flying into a window is not the best way to find a mate.

EDIT:  I just read why birds regurgitate (when not feeding young).  Now I may be taking this a bit too far and it surely could have been due to other reasons…HOWEVER…it said that it’s a sign of affection to their ‘mate’.  In case of human owners of birds, they are saying they love you by regurgitating.   It’s a courting behavior.  Now wouldn’t that be a nice way of saying ‘thanks’ for helping him!?

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4 thoughts on “You Sweet Thang…

  1. Andrea November 3, 2013 / 10:33 am

    How interesting! And you are helping animals in ways you never thought of six months ago.

    • Kay McAnally November 5, 2013 / 12:23 pm

      Fascinating! I’m delighted to find out that birds perfume themselves as I just had an opposite experience with one of your friends, a black rat snake. I didn’t know about rat snakes until my ex-sister-in-law pulled 15 of them this year from her chicken coop. She found, when handling them, that they emit a creamy goo between their scales when they are afraid. It smells a bit like skunk, she told me. I’ve always enjoyed holding snakes but I can tell you for sure that I don’t want ooze that smells like skunk on my hands. I’d rather hold that bird – no matter how it acquired its scent!

      • StephieD November 5, 2013 / 12:28 pm

        Ahhh yes, snake ‘musk’ is what it’s referred to as. It comes out of their butt actually and is a defensive mechanism when they get caught. Been there, done that many times. lol

  2. JG November 4, 2013 / 9:37 am

    nature never ceases to amaze!

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