By Eric Round
Fed a typical American diet of fast food and manufactured snacks, birds became obese within four days and were unable to fly, according to the results of an experiment published in the October issue of the journal Nature.
Three birds—a crow, robin and sparrow—were fed a diet of Kellogg’s Cheez-Its and Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts, PepsiCo’s Cap’n Crunch cereal (or candy), Cinnabon’s Caramel Pecan Buns, Kraft’s Lunchables (Ham & American Cracker Stackers), Burger King’s Kids’ Double Cheeseburger and Fries, General Mills’ Nature Valley Chewy Granola Yogurt Bars, Frito-Lay’s Cheetos Puffs, Pepperidge Farms' Goldfish crackers, Hostess Mini Muffins, Subway’s Footlong Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwiches, Domino’s Chicken Carbonara Breadbowl Pasta, Keebler’s Cheese & Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips, and Arby’s Sausage Gravy Biscuits.
The birds washed all this down with Coke and Pepsi, regular and diet.
“After two days of this diet the crow could still fly but not the robin or sparrow,” said Dr. Megan Finney, chair of the Department of Avian Obesity at Wingback College in Delburg, Ohio. “After three days the crow was incapable of flapping a wing even when we scared the bird by driving a truck next to it. The poor crow weighed 68 pounds and was essentially immobile. The robin and sparrow, 62 pounds and 71 pounds respectively, were both dead.”
Midway through the fourth day, said Finney, the crow showed no sign of movement, except for an occasional twitch of its left leg.
Following a review of the study, the American food and beverage industry released a statement saying “the foods used in the study appear to be unhealthy for birds but may still be really good for human kids. So eat up, boys and girls!”