Anyone heard of this before? (feeding Alka-Seltzer to birds) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-27-2005, 08:11 AM
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My husband and I were coming out of the grocery store when we saw three teenage boys trying to coax a seagull down with something in his hand. My husband got suspicious because one of them had a small video camera and all of them were laughing. As he walked over they tossed something to the bird.

So my husband, who is very intimidating looking, asked them what they were doing.

Well, one of them says he's feeding the birds mints! Any bird I know would be repelled by mints, and this they would be taping and laughing at??

Turns out they were throwing them Alka Seltzer tabs!

My husband had heard of this before as he had helped the janitor at his school pick up corpses of pigeons who had eaten them. They fizz up in their small stomachs and cause then to rupture and they swell up and other gruesome things I didn't want to print.



So anyway, he tells them he thinks the need to get the hell gone and they said, Ok, we don't want any trouble. so they head for the McDonalds across the street to try it there, but we saw them, followed them, got their license numbers and called the Cops. Amazingly enough, the cops took it seriously, went to their homes and confronted them and told their parents, gave them appearance tickets and they were fined! And the one boy's parents took away his car! I was floored. Didn't really expect the Cops to do anything!



I had never heard of the Alka Seltzer thing before despite 30 of involvement in animal issues.
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#2 Old 05-27-2005, 08:17 AM
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That's disgusting, and cruel. But good for you (and your husband) for following it up! I'm glad they got their come-uppance.
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#3 Old 05-27-2005, 08:33 AM
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I was pretty proud of my husband because he showed amazing restraint. He wanted to take the camera, and kick some butt. That would have been stupid,( no matter how satisfying) and he would have been the one in trouble.
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#4 Old 05-27-2005, 08:41 AM
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It's horrifying that such sickos exist .... but so great that you were able to intervene and get results!
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#5 Old 05-27-2005, 08:55 AM
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i've heard of that before. it's why i am really active in my area about litter clean up, and community education on the impact of litter and improper disposal of ALL waste products, from recyclables to non-recyclables, on our environment and the creatures that are native to our area.



oh, and FWIW: what we have been told about rice swelling in bird's stomachs is not true. My vet said that it was fine for birds to eat uncooked rice.. and Mark Marone (SP?) lets his birds eat the dry rice...
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#6 Old 05-27-2005, 09:00 AM
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Since I can't post links - this is at snopes





Claim: Rice thrown to wish newly-wedded couples well can kill their fine feathered friends.



Status: False.



Origins: We're

cautioned not to throw rice at the bride and groom, because the grain will prove harmful to the birds who swoop down

Feed me!

to eat it. The rice expands in those little birdy stomachs, causing our avian companions to explode, we're warned. Let's quit worrying about the birds. They'll be fine. Seagulls don't explode when they eat Alka-Seltzer; pigeons don't explode when they eat rice.



This response to a 1996 Ann Landers column in which she "informed" readers about the danger rice poses to birds just about says it all:



The USA Rice Federation in Houston has a message for advice columnist Ann Landers - straighten up and fly right when you talk about birds. In a recent column, Landers warned readers that throwing rice at weddings is Is that the premium bird seed? unhealthy for our feathered friends: "Please encourage the guests to throw rose petals instead of rice. Rice is not good for the birds."



"This silly myth pops up periodically, and it is absolutely unfounded," responded rice expert Mary Jo Cheesman at the USA Rice Federation. Many migrating ducks and geese depend on winter-flooded rice fields each year to fatten up and build strength for their return trek to northern nesting grounds.



Uncooked, milled rice is no more harmful to birds than rice in the field, Cheesman said. The Curator of Ornithology at the University of California at Berkeley agrees.



"It's a myth. There is no reason why birds, including small songbirds, can't eat rice," said Ned Johnson, a professor of biology at Berkeley who lectures frequently on the food and feeding of birds.



Many churchs and reception halls have rules prohibiting the throwing of confetti or rice. These rules work to keep the property clean so that the next happy couple doesn't get its send-off amid the leavings of the previous pair. Confetti is notoriously hard to clean up; not even vacuuming a lawn will return the grass to its pristine condition.



Rice poses a unique danger. Not to birds, though; to people. Scattered on a hard surface (such as the steps of a church or a dance floor) it puts anyone who walks across that surface at risk of taking a nasty spill. Far better to prohibit rice throwing at a wedding than to end up with an injured guest.



Don't do it for the birds, do it for the inlaws.



Barbara "slip covered" Mikkelson



Sightings: In The Simpsons episode of 14 May 2000, Bart is warned not to throw rice at Otto's wedding, lest he cause birds to explode. Also, in the 16 July 2001 episode of the TV soap opera Passions Charity told Tabitha that they don't throw rice at weddings anymore, stating this legend's premise as the reason. And in an episode of the TV sitcom Cybill ("Bachelor Party," original air date 6 January 1997), Holly (Ira's fiancée) dictates that rice won't be thrown at her wedding because it "makes pigeons explode."



Last updated: 25 July 2003





So, apparently, it's not possible for the seagulls to explode. I'm not sure how your husband picked up the corpses, when it's supposedly not possible.
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#7 Old 05-27-2005, 09:13 AM
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Since before I was "enlightened", I used to breed Parrots, I knew the rice thing was a falacy. I remember hearing that years ago. And actually, way back in the 60's when I was married for the first time, everyone got little packets of black oil sunflower to throw. Figured it was better than throwing rice as the flying guys really like it best!



Oh and the boys with the alka seltzer had gone into the store and bought it for that purpose. makes ya wonder what else they were abusing besides those gulls. I am sure they will not stop and just go do this sort of thing somewhere else, unless the cops and court really threw a scare into them but I doubt it.

At least they got stopped for a short time. They need help, as far as i can see, or they will just do it again.
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#8 Old 05-27-2005, 09:35 AM
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I don't know about Alka Seltzer, but I have heard ducks that are used to taking handouts from people will eat quaterters and can be made to sink for $2.00.





There really are sick people in this world. Why can't we just leave the animals alone?
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#9 Old 05-27-2005, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hummusisyummus View Post

I don't know about Alka Seltzer, but I have heard ducks that are used to taking handouts from people will eat quaterters and can be made to sink for $2.00.





There really are sick people in this world. Why can't we just leave the animals alone?



Hadn't heard this one either. It is unreal to me that we have to inhabit the planet with people like these. What kind of sicko even comes up with stuff like this?
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#10 Old 05-27-2005, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morningglory View Post

Claim: Rice thrown to wish newly-wedded couples well can kill their fine feathered friends.



Status: False.



So, apparently, it's not possible for the seagulls to explode. I'm not sure how your husband picked up the corpses, when it's supposedly not possible.



The article you reference talks about rice ... the OP is talking about AlkaSeltzer. I think there may be a difference of significant proportions. And even if they don't explode - I am pretty sure that a human dosage of Alka Seltzer cannot possibly be good for an animal that weights 1/100th (or less) of the weight the dose is calculated for.

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#11 Old 05-27-2005, 11:26 AM
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When I was in Washington State last year I was staying in a small town called Sea Side. While walking on the beach I noticed that what I thought was a kite was really a seagull on a fishing line. Seems that kids like to fish for seagulls and catch them by putting a hook in the hand outs they were feeding the gulls. They were laughing and carrrying on about how funny it is. My friend who lives there says it happens all the time. I was pissed so I walked up and cut the line. Then I proceeded to scare the crap out of those little punks. Next time we go to Washington we are going to stay in Portland, Sea Side made me sad...
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#12 Old 05-27-2005, 11:35 AM
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I live in Santa Monica, Calif. I have never heard of such cruelty to seagulls before, and I hope I don't run into anybody here who dares to try any of this. If I do, I'll definitely kick some ass...

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#13 Old 05-27-2005, 12:05 PM
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I saw a similar thing In Sebastian, Florida except it was with Pelicans instead of gulls. Someone caught the two boys doing it, had them by the arms and was holding them until the Brevard Cty. Sheriffs showed up and took them away.

Don't know what happened to them, if anything. Seems this is quite a popular past time for punk ass kids down there.
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#14 Old 05-27-2005, 12:16 PM
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That's sick



But that's great the cops took it seriously! Maybe they will realize that those kind of sick games aren't fun anymore.
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#15 Old 05-27-2005, 12:32 PM
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And that often they lead to greater abuses and worse/
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#16 Old 05-27-2005, 01:39 PM
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It IS great that the cops responded, not all will of course.
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#17 Old 05-27-2005, 02:56 PM
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Yes, I know the /begining/ of it talks about rice, but if you read the /whole/ thing you can see it talks about alka-seltzer too. It really does help if you read the whole post.



"Origins: We're cautioned not to throw rice at the bride and groom, because the grain will prove harmful to the birds who swoop down to eat it. The rice expands in those little birdy stomachs, causing our avian companions to explode, we're warned. Let's quit worrying about the birds. They'll be fine. "Seagulls don't explode when they eat Alka-Seltzer; pigeons don't explode when they eat rice."



It may not be the best thing for them, but they won't explode.
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#18 Old 05-27-2005, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morningglory View Post

"Origins: We're cautioned not to throw rice at the bride and groom, because the grain will prove harmful to the birds who swoop down to eat it. The rice expands in those little birdy stomachs, causing our avian companions to explode, we're warned. Let's quit worrying about the birds. They'll be fine. "Seagulls don't explode when they eat Alka-Seltzer; pigeons don't explode when they eat rice."



It may not be the best thing for them, but they won't explode.



I did read the whole post - I missed that one sentence. Don't get snippy.



"May not be the best thing for them"? It is fatal to them. While they don't explode they most definitely will die from an overdose. And it isn't a pleasant dreamy kind of death either. Check out the list of symptoms from a sodium salicylate overdose (the active ingredient in Alka Seltzer and Pepto Bismol).



Body as a whole

Convulsions

Collapse

Fever



Respiratory

Wheezing

Respiratory depression

Cardiovascular



Low blood pressure



Eyes, ears, nose, and throat

Nystagmus

Ringing in the ears

Gastrointestinal

Nausea

Vomiting

Gastrointestinal bleeding



Nervous system

Dizziness

Seizures

Confusion

Drowsiness



According to Dave Oehler, head of the Cincinnati zoo's aviculture department:



Quote:
Alka-Seltzer, he says, is sodium bicarbonate, and in low doses can be therapeutic for ailing birds. But you have to start slowly and give them very little, he says. Too much at once causes vomiting and death.



What an overdose does once it gets in the bird's tummy or a human tummy for that matter is cause alkaline burns. It begins to bubble up when it comes in contact with stomach fluids. When that happens, it can cause tissue damage that hurts more than the upset stomach you were trying to cure.



So yes - it is true the bird will not explode. This is; however, a very cruel and intolerably inhumane experiment.



As for:



Quote:
Originally Posted by morningglory View Post

I'm not sure how your husband picked up the corpses, when it's supposedly not possible.



Again while the birds may not have exploded they most certainly could have died and I'm sure the corpses of the little birds who vomited while suffering from alkaline burns and gastric bleeding wasn't a pretty site.
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#19 Old 05-27-2005, 03:31 PM
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I responded with the same attitude as you originally had.



The only thing I was saying was that they will not explode. When people say that they can, when it's not true - I will point out things like that. If you have a problem with someone pointing out the truth, go ahead and use the ignore feature.



If you feel the need to jump on people when you think they didn't read the post, don't get grouchy if I point out that you didn't read the whole post.



Do we really wish to get into the details of what would happen? If you feel the need to get into the disgusting details when there is no reason to, go right ahead. Nowhere in here did I say anything about it being okay, so please don't infer that I did.



She said exploded and that was what I was commenting on, I never said it wasn't possible to pick up dead birds.
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#20 Old 05-28-2005, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by PortableKitten View Post

And that often they lead to greater abuses and worse/

That doesn't say good things about our society.
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#21 Old 05-28-2005, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsKey View Post

The article you reference talks about rice ... the OP is talking about AlkaSeltzer. I think there may be a difference of significant proportions. And even if they don't explode - I am pretty sure that a human dosage of Alka Seltzer cannot possibly be good for an animal that weights 1/100th (or less) of the weight the dose is calculated for.



Alka Seltzer is also an urban myth.

http://www.enviroliteracy.org/asktheexpert.php/49.html
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#22 Old 05-28-2005, 01:45 PM
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It's an urban myth that they will explode.



But it's not an urban myth that stupid, cruel people feed Alka-Seltzer to seagulls to see if it works. True, the seagulls may just drop the tablets as they do when people throw them rocks (I have seen kids do this). But if they do ingest the tablets, they will probably die. Either way, the intent is cruelty, and I am very happy that the police took it seriously in this instance.
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#23 Old 05-28-2005, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkjobsluder View Post

Alka Seltzer is also an urban myth.

http://www.enviroliteracy.org/asktheexpert.php/49.html



I acknowledged that they do not explode (and I never said I believed that). What the quote you used says is that it is not good for an animal to receive a human dosage for Alka-Seltzer (or any other medication) as those doses are based on average weights of human beings - which is significantly higher than the vast majority of birds.



The difference of significant proportions to which I was referring is that rice will likely not kill birds but Alka-Seltzer will. A point which the Snopes article did not mention.



So while they will not explode they will most definitely be made ill and likely die from some twisted attempt to see what "really happens" when you feed Alka-Seltzer to birds.

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#24 Old 05-28-2005, 09:00 PM
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Totally agree that animal-torturing youths are more likely to grow into all sorts of other awful things.
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#25 Old 05-30-2005, 01:23 AM
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Mean people suck.
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#26 Old 06-11-2005, 05:33 PM
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AFAIK, it doesn't cause them to explode; that's an urban legend. But it can be harmful to themsometimes fatally soand is a rotten thing to do.



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#27 Old 06-12-2005, 10:53 AM
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In detail, a bird has a crop and that is the first place an alka seltzer will usually start to foam. That will only make them sick and the foam will come out of their mouths.

Adult birds are capable of swallowing them and having them enter the stomach much sooner. The foaming action has nowhere to escape to as it does in the crop. In most cases the stomach will rupture and the bird will die. I have been present at several necropsies where this was the result of the alka seltzer thing. That is probably where the idea came from that they explode. If the stomach did not rupture, the dosage in a full tab of alka seltzer would most likely kill them. Birds are quite sensitive to things and even an overheated non stick pan can kill them.( good to know for anyone that has companion birds)
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#28 Old 06-12-2005, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by morningglory View Post

I responded with the same attitude as you originally had.



The only thing I was saying was that they will not explode. When people say that they can, when it's not true - I will point out things like that. If you have a problem with someone pointing out the truth, go ahead and use the ignore feature.



If you feel the need to jump on people when you think they didn't read the post, don't get grouchy if I point out that you didn't read the whole post.



Do we really wish to get into the details of what would happen? If you feel the need to get into the disgusting details when there is no reason to, go right ahead. Nowhere in here did I say anything about it being okay, so please don't infer that I did.



She said exploded and that was what I was commenting on, I never said it wasn't possible to pick up dead birds.



See, I actually think what she shared WAS important information. The article suggests that the alka seltzer was not dangerous to birds, by lumping it in with rice which is not harmful.



But from the very well documented information that Mrs. Key posted, everyone here at least knows that it IS harmful--indeed fatal, just not in the way many people think. I think that's important to know.



Your comments as well seemed to suggest (as you read the article exactly as I did), that alka seltzer wasn't harmful, when it is. I'm actually glad that mrs key cleared up that misinformation, if only here on vb.
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#29 Old 06-12-2005, 02:10 PM
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See, I actually think what she shared WAS important information. The article suggests that the alka seltzer was not dangerous to birds, by lumping it in with rice which is not harmful.



But from the very well documented information that Mrs. Key posted, everyone here at least knows that it IS harmful--indeed fatal, just not in the way many people think. I think that's important to know.



Your comments as well seemed to suggest (as you read the article exactly as I did), that alka seltzer wasn't harmful, when it is. I'm actually glad that mrs key cleared up that misinformation, if only here on vb.



I agree, I don't think the point is about who's right or wrong, or who's winning the internet argument, but the fact that these animals could be possibly killed by this inhumane act.
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#30 Old 06-13-2005, 11:51 PM
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I've heard of that happening before, but never knew it was true. I'm glad to hear the cops took it so seriously! Hooray for getting something done!
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