Using Birds as Edible Berry Indicators

Using Birds as Edible Berry Indicators
Using Birds as Edible Berry Indicators

Birds are a good indicator of what wild berries humans can eat.
True or False?

• True
• False
• Winter time only
• Only near lakes

Answer: False

Birds can eat lots of berries that would otherwise make you and I sick so don’t rely on that as a signal that something is safe to eat. For example, pokeweed, which looks like a dark blackberry, is not toxic to birds but the majority of the plant is poisonous to humans.

Ivy berries are another type of berry that birds can eat but can cause convulsions, blurred vision, stomach cramps, and diarrhea if you eat a large quantity.


If you don’t know whether is berry is edible or not, it’s best not to eat it. If it’s an emergency or survival situation, it’s best to slowly test the berry before consuming large quantities. Begin by smashing the berries to test the juice on your forearm, lips, and tongue.

A good way to check berries in a pinch is to see if the juices cause any irritation. First, crush the berry on your arm, waiting five minutes or so to see if it causes any irritation or allergic reactions.

Repeat this process on your lips and gums. Finally, chew a berry for 10-15 minutes, but don’t swallow it. If none of this causes any illness or irritation, at your own risk, eat up.

~To Your Survival!