Re: [CH] Hot Birdseed

Lindstrom, Rick (
Sat, 21 Mar 1998 10:49:31 -0500

At 12:57 AM 3/20/98 -1000, you wrote:
>Suz wrote:
>> I saw some birdfood that was supposed to be squirrel-free because it
>> contained peppers.  Said it was 4 times hotter than peppers, wash
>> hands
>> after touching, etc., the usual disclaimers.
>> My question:  Does this mean that birds have tastebuds and squirrels
>> do not?

My understanding is this- peppers evolved heat to discourage being eaten by
animals whose digestive systems could destroy the seed.

The seed passes unharmed through birds, and this is in fact a mechanism for
spreading the seed. Birds have no receptors for the capsaicin. Sort of a
symbiotic relationship.

I personally am glad to belong to the class of creatures in whom seeds can
be digested :)

Also, I have seen, in Walmart, bags of pepper being sold for the especial
purpose of mixing with birdseed to discourage those bad old squirrels. They
apparently don't appreciate the heat.
Rick Lindstrom                           
Tallahassee, FL