Questions I Am Not Qualified to Answer: Entry #45091

Black-capped chickadee (Photo: MDF via Wikipedia)

After seeing me toss the remains of her bag of freeze-dried fruit on the ground for the birds, The Five-Year-Old reached for a discarded slice of apple.

Mommyo, urgently: “Don’t eat that!”

The Five-Year-Old, curiously: “Why?”

Mommyo, definitively: “You’ll get sick!”

The Five-Year-Old, perplexedly: “But it’s ok for the birds?”

Mommyo, assuredly: “Of course.”

The Five-Year-Old, confoundingly: “Do birds have stronger immune systems than people?”

Anyone have any idea how to answer this? For now, I’m going with different. As in birds are used to eating food off the ground, and the bits of dirt and stuff that ends up on said food, so their bodies are able to handle it. But I — and it must be said, The Five-Year-Old — find that answer a smidge unsatisfactory.

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
This entry was posted in Funny Stuff My Daughter Says, Health and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Questions I Am Not Qualified to Answer: Entry #45091

  1. Barbara says:

    This article may give a few answers Also the bird digestive system is very different from ours so the gravel and bits of dirt are handled differently.


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