You may love popping off to the local sports bar to indulge in the hottest wings you can find.
The latest spicy offerings from fast food joints might have forced you to make a detour on the way home from work. And it’s totally natural to become a little ecstatic when you buy a new bottle of hot sauce.
But you would never add these fiery ingredients to pet food, right? (That’s more of a “never do it” than a question, by the way.) Your dogs wouldn’t eat it, and it wouldn’t be any fun for them if they did. And there’s no sense in wasting such lovely heat on the animals that creep into the garden at night. So why would you give it to the birds?
Because birds don’t respond to capsaicin; it doesn’t attach to their pain receptors.
Do Birds Love Chili Pepper?
We can’t really know whether birds have a preference for chili peppers or not. And, like humans, there may be those that love them while others do not.
What we do know is that other animals don’t choose to eat capsaicin. It hurts them, and they don’t care to work through the pain the way humans do. Really, no dog will choose to keep eating capsaicin. Neither will cats, deer – and most importantly (in this case), squirrels.
Chili pepper birdseed wasn’t actually created for birds; it’s more a deterrent for all the other animals that steal their food. Birds don’t feel the pain, but other animals do.
It’s a seemingly natural connection, right? We should have always had chili pepper birdseed we could tuck into the stocking of the bird lovers and watchers at Christmas. But, the first capsaicin-laden bird food wasn’t available until the late 1990s.
Chili Pepper Birdseed Came from Scientific Research into Pain Relief
Surprisingly, it wasn’t a life-long bird lover that invented squirrel-proof birdseed. It was a researcher that had dedicated his life to reducing pain for humans. He’d been looking at the substance, resiniferatoxin (or RTX) which is wildly more potent than capsaicin.
Can you believe it; RTX registers about 10,000 times hotter than capsaicin? While looking at this substance, Peter M. Blumberg from the National Cancer Institute, made the connection between capsaicin, birds, squirrels, and the backyard pastimes of these animals.
It’s a little funny that it took so long and that it chili pepper birdseed was developed in the most roundabout way, but now you know what to get the chili-head-bird-watcher in your life for their birthday. And, it should go without saying, we don’t suggest wasting a drop of your precious Mad Dog hot sauce on the birds… or the squirrels.