Someone actually researched getting birds pissed

I’m surprised this wasn’t funded by Callaghan Innovation, it seems the sort of thing they like funding…or perhaps it is more the Marsden Fund’s bag.

Anyway, someone has actually researched getting birds pissed.

Here was me thinking all it took was a few glasses of bubbles.

Researchers conduct all sorts of strange experiments in the name of science, from studying the slipperiness of banana peels to looking at how dogs orient their bodies when they poop.

And now, in the latest example of strange science, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland got some finches drunk and watched what happened.

Their main finding? Like drunk humans, boozed-up birds slur their “speech.”

For the study, the researchers gave grape juice to one group of zebra finches and an alcoholic juice cocktail to another group. The cocktail-quaffing finches became somewhat inebriated, with blood alcohol levels of 0.05 percent to 0.08 percent, according to NPR.  

“At first we were thinking that they wouldn’t drink on their own because, you know, a lot of animals just won’t touch the stuff,” Christopher Olson, a researcher at the university, told NPR. “But they seem to tolerate it pretty well and be somewhat willing to consume it.”

A comparison of the birds’ songs showed that the buzzed birds sang more quietly, and their songs lacked their typical structure (listen to the difference in the video above). Surprisingly, the alcohol did not seem to affect the birds’ coordination.

The study might sound a bit silly, but the researchers argue that it has important real-world implications. Since scientists still don’t fully understand how alcohol affects our speech, they say, the birds can serve as a good model for understanding humans.

“Because we know a lot about the exact brain areas that control singing and learning to sing in these birds, we are hoping that our future studies will tell us exactly what parts of the brain are affected when alcohol affects speech,” co-researcher Dr. Claudio Mello, a behavioral neuroscientist at the university, told The Huffington Post in an email.

In other words, the research wasn’t conducted on a lark.

No, someone is having a lark…they found a nice trough and filled it up.



– Huffington Post


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  • intelligentes candida diva

    Brilliant final two sentences, thanks for the smile!

  • oldmanNZ

    I think there needs to be a study on how much money has been spent on useless study. Therd must be hundred of weird znd wonderful thingz scientists are curious about.
    I think these has been done already…

    Why do buttered toast land butter side down.
    Why do eating fat make you fat.
    Relaxing too much make you fat
    Constant head banging can give you a head ache
    Women can make men stupid
    Alcohol increase chances of unprotected sex
    Most science research are useless

  • Lord Evans

    Don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but this research could have easily been conducted at the Green Parrot in Wellington. It’s a well known haunt for tits politicians with bird brains plus the scientists would have had real results to crow about.

  • Just need to come to our place and watch the pukeko’s after they have filled up on fallen fruit, maybe I could get a grant to write that up.

    • Steve (North Shore)

      Yeah like why did the Pukeko cross the road? I won’t tell you the answer even though I know – it needs a heap of research just in case it applies to humans (morons)

  • Sunshine

    Wow, I am missing out on a revenue stream. Maybe I could set a fee for some NZ academics to observe the daily Wood Pigeon party that occurs in the Puriri trees. We often have 6 or seven drunk Wood Pigeons having a marvellous time after a day of gorging on the Puriri berries.