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  #1  
Old 16 January 2009, 03:49 AM
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Chicken Birds can't smell?

Comment: Report on The Weather Channel with live interview of California
about Turkey Vultures that are migrating through. Reporter states that
the Turkey Vultures use their sense of smell to locate decaying carcasses.

I do not know of any bird that can smell -- including Turkey Vultures. Can
you confirm or refute that they can smell??
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  #2  
Old 16 January 2009, 03:59 AM
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I wonder how this person knows vultures can't smell? I certainly have never heard this.
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  #3  
Old 16 January 2009, 04:08 AM
KKHB
 
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I had no idea the question of whether birds can smell was as debated as it is until I started looking up cites.

According to Birds & Blooms magazine (have to be registered to read the article, this is quoted using google's cached page)
Quote:
All birds have olfactory organs, but only sea birds and vultures have a developed sense of smell, which allows them to locate food by scent.
This article says pretty much the same thing: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal.../071318b0.html .

And Science Daily discusses birds' use of smell to detect predators. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0427233813.htm
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Old 16 January 2009, 04:24 AM
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A quick Google turns up loads of hits, somewhat contradictary, but the general consensus seems to be that most birds have some sense of smell but not much. The ability of the Turkey Vulture to detect the odour of carrion whilst airborne seems to be in dispute.

http://www.google.com/search?q=birds...8&sourceid=ie7
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  #5  
Old 18 January 2009, 03:45 PM
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We once had a bird rescue organization come talk to my class when I was little. one of the things they talked about was the myth that if you touch a baby bird, the mother would smell the human on it, and reject it. they told us that most birds have a really weak sense of smell, so they wouldn't neglect the babies if they got touched by people.
of course, one of my dumb neighbors didn't believe me, and the kid would always play with baby birds he found in nests, and then give him to his mom to try to take care of, because "the mother bird won't take it back".... and of course, the baby birds always died.
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  #6  
Old 18 January 2009, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiTheInvader View Post
We once had a bird rescue organization come talk to my class when I was little. one of the things they talked about was the myth that if you touch a baby bird, the mother would smell the human on it, and reject it. they told us that most birds have a really weak sense of smell, so they wouldn't neglect the babies if they got touched by people.
of course, one of my dumb neighbors didn't believe me, and the kid would always play with baby birds he found in nests, and then give him to his mom to try to take care of, because "the mother bird won't take it back".... and of course, the baby birds always died.
I've known people like that. They "rescue" a fledgling bird by putting it in a shoe box with some breadcrusts. The bird dies. I'm not sure who said "Stupid should be painful" but it applies here.
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Old 18 January 2009, 05:24 PM
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I've been to chicken coops before and I can tell you for sure, birds can and do smell awful.
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  #8  
Old 30 January 2009, 02:59 PM
jespur62
 
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grape kool aid has been an "organic" method of bird controll for decades.

http://www.tribalwar.com/forums/archive/t-340858.html
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  #9  
Old 01 February 2009, 07:17 PM
Kilukpuk
 
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Kiwis (not the fruity sort!) have a very good sense of smell. They're also have their nostrils at the ends of their beaks, which I think is unique for birds. They sniff out food without having to probe everywhere.
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Old 02 February 2009, 07:13 PM
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I have parrots, and I actually have no idea of their sense of smell. Maybe it's just as well, since some of them tend to have an odd "bird" odor. The Senegal smells fine, but the Amazon and the Eclectus get a birdy scent.
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Old 26 February 2009, 07:59 PM
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I think the answer is that some birds have a good sense of smell and some have little sense of smell and it all depends on how they evolved for their lifestyle. With a limited amount of room in that cranium, there must be some trade-off between which sense is most useful and which ones don't need to be so well-developed.
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  #12  
Old 26 February 2009, 08:31 PM
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There was an article in the local paper this past weekend abour skunks, noting that while nearly every other predator avoided skunks, Great Horned Owls loved to eat them, as the GH Owls had very poor sense of smell.
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  #13  
Old 09 March 2009, 11:17 PM
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Now I'm sorely tempted to fart in a bird's face and see what happens. For purely scientific reasons, you understand...

It would be just as well if the South American hoatzin can't smell.
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