Questions & Answersback

Can birds get drunk – I’m thinking of the saying ‘as drunk as a jackdaw’?

Answer: Birds do not drink alcohol but fruit and berries can ferment and turn into alcohol so that when the birds eat them there is a theoretical possibility of them becoming drunk.
Perhaps this is the origin of the expression ‘as drunk as a jackdaw’.

Studies have shown that the starling’s ability to break down alcohol is 14 times as effective as that of humans. This ability is of particular benefit to the young, as fruits and berries are an important part of their diet. And because, as already mentioned, fruit and berries contain alcohol when they ferment.

But my answer must be yes – birds can become drunk if they eat too much fermented fruit and berries.