Trading Tongues with Tweety

Hand Feeding Baby Birds - cover

Hand Feeding Baby Birds

Submitter: The back cover on this one is especially interesting. He’s trading tongues with a bird???

Holly: For the love of all things holy, what is happening here? Whyyyy would you do that? Birds are to me like clowns are for Mary. I just don’t like them. Your mileage may vary. If so, get a new bird book.

Mary: This is disturbing. Birds are okay, but I cannot see how “kissing” a bird in this manner would be sanitary. Just ewwww. Avian experts, is this really a thing? Please weigh in.

Hand feeding baby birds

Hand Feeding Baby Birds

Hand Feeding Baby Birds


  1. Baby birds are fed that way by their mothers, so a “hand-raised” bird may be fed that way by the breeder. Not to say they all do that, but some do. “Hand-raised” birds sell for twice as much, which is why it’s done.

    1. I thought it was just because it makes the birds tamer and more friendly to humans, but I guess money is the real answer. After all there are several popular of dogs, like pugs and St. Bernards and even German shepherds, that now suffer all kinds of genetic health problems due to breeding them solely to ìmprove their appearance. 🙁

    2. Yup! And when they REALLY love you, they barf on you!! (Just like their mama does to feed them.)

  2. p30: the composition of that upper photo is just amazing – I can’t imagine the care and precision that must have gone into placing that open box and sugar bowl in the foreground, which draw the eye into the mise en scene of erich honecker and r crumb cramming pancake batter down a parrot’s throat

    1. I was reading about East Germany earlier today. Maybe they were forcing the parrot to inform on whether his owner was loyal or not?

    2. That bird on page 30 looks particularly uncomfortable. Imagine being grabbed by the throat until your eyes are bulging out while being force fed some sort of vile pudding.

  3. A lot of people let their dogs lick them, in spite of the fact the animal’s licked himself in certain places or sniffs other dog’s butts, but frenching each other is just ewwww, whether it’s humans or animals. 🙂

  4. For some reason I’ve never really understood, girls kissing birds in movies was a “thing” in the 19-teens. You can see Mary Pickford do it in her version of “Cinderella,” and tons of D.W. Griffith’s leading ladies did it as well. I think it was meant to express natural innocence and virginity or somesuch (like being able to pet a unicorn). To me it just looks gross.

  5. I volunteered at an avian rehabilitation center a couple summers ago. Bird parents of course feed the babies mouth-to-mouth but we certainly did not! Part of that was because we did not want the birds to become habituated to humans feeding them, whereas this book is probably aimed at people intending to raise very tame pet birds, but still. Birds can carry a lot of bacteria in those beaks. At the rehabilitation center, very young birds would be fed with liquid food in an eyedropper/syringe, older ones with more solid food held by tweezers. The methods pictured look very messy/not very efficient – many young birds are quite helpless and pretty much need the food to be shoved down their throats (gently/carefully), not just put in their mouths.

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