We all love to birdwatch and pick out a unique bird to show our friends, but how much do you really know these majestic creatures? Here are some really common myths about wild birds!

Birds sing because they are happy 

Males sing as a form of aggression to warn competing males to stay away and also to signal their personal qualities to attract females to mate with them. Females tend to prefer males who sing more often or have more complex songs. – National Wildlife Federation

Birds have no sense of smell 

Most birds cannot smell odors nearly as well as dogs, for instance, but some seabirds can recognize their mate by smell alone, and turkey vultures find their meals by sniffing out the gases coming from carrion. – National Wildlife Federation

Feeding Birds Makes Them Dependent on Handouts

While the same birds may regularly visit feeders as part of their daily foraging, studies have shown that wild birds only get an average of 25 percent of their food from feeders. There are many natural foods birds prefer, and while they will visit feeders out of convenience, they are well able to find other food sources if feeders are unavailable. Feeders may become more critical during harsh winters, but birds will not starve if the feeders aren’t filled. – The Spruce 

Bread is Perfect to Feed Ducks

While bread, crackers, donuts, and similar products can be fed to birds as a very rare treat, feeding ducks bread exclusively can lead to unhealthy birds and polluted waterways. Bread has very little nutritional value, and too much bread in small ponds and other areas can attract predators, rodents, and other pests. Decayed bread can also lead to diseases that can infect both birds and humans, and ducklings do not get the proper nutrition for healthy growth from a diet of mostly bread. Instead of feeding ducks bread, take cracked corn, fresh peas, or grape halves to the local pond. – The Spruce

Bird feeders keep birds from migrating. 

Reality: If this were true, we’d have hummingbirds and orioles clinging to our feeders all winter long. Birds migrate when thier natural, “internal clocks” urge them to do so. Migration is driven by instinct and external factors such as hours and intensity of daylight and weather, not by the availability of food at feeders. One thing to note is that birds need extra food during migration, so it’s nice to keep your feeders stocked in case a hungry migrant plops down in your yard looking for food. – Watching Backyard Birds.