Health

Just Like Humans, Crows Embrace Junk Food...and Pay the Price

DiscoblogBy Allison BondJun 9, 2009 7:10 PM
crowweb.gif

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

High in calories but low in nutrition, junk food isn’t exactly optimal fuel for kids. And, it turns out, it’s not the best for baby crows, either. A steady diet of scavenged discarded doughnuts and French fries has had deleterious effects on crow chicks in suburban areas, according to researchers at Binghamton University. The urban crows are smaller and have lower levels of blood protein and calcium than chicks living in rural areas, the study found. When the scientists offered some of the suburban crows a concoction more nutritious than the junk food plentiful in suburban garbage cans—but not as nourishing as the crows’ natural diet—the suburban chicks grew faster than those still on the junk food-based diet. The rural parents also chose to feed their chicks the scientists’ mixture over natural food, indicating that crows might feed their chicks whatever food is easiest to get, even if it’s less nutritious. The difference between crows and humans, of course, is that human parents know that junk food is bad for their kids. Crows are scavengers, and they’ll take whatever food they can get. What’s our excuse? Related Content: Discoblog: Next in the Weight-Loss Arsenal: Food That Sits in Your Stomach Twice as Long Discoblog: What Won’t Keep People Slim: The Execucisor Discoblog: So Is It a Disease? United Airlines to Double-Charge Obese Fliers

Image: flickr / greg7

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.