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I've lived with Peachfront Conures Aratinga aurea for 30 years. I've bred 'em, trained 'em, even visited Bolivia to observe them in the wild. For more about me, click right here.

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9:35 a.m. 2012-06-10

the demon rum is one thing but the demon seed?

From my September 1994 BIRD TALK article, Seeds: Are They For the Birds?

A persistent rumor has been swirling around the hobbyist community...concerning the supposedly addictive quality of sunflower seed. In the early 1980s, one pet store owner told me that he would not sell mixes including sunflower seed because it contained LSD!

…I can understand where the rumor started. When you watch hookbills crack open sunflower seed after sunflower seed, they often do appear to be in a hypnotic trance. Yet I can't believe that my birds are actually addicted to something in the seed, because they will often throw it to the ground instead of eating it. I believe that they just enjoy creating that satisfying crunching sound. Just as crunching cookie after cookie or potato chip after chip helps a tense person relax, I believe crunching sunflower seeds can help a tense parrot unwind. That doesn't mean that cookies, potato chips, or sunflower seeds are addictive drugs…although I do sometimes wonder about the cookies.

For the record, in the same era, sunflower seeds were promoted as a health food for humans, and they do NOT contain any dangerous drugs.

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