Some of my favourite photos

Thursday 9 July 2015

Do Birds get stung by Bees?

A question that popped into my head while I was taking some photos of birds yesterday was

 'Do birds get stung by bees?'

Nearby we have a patch of wild flowers that when the sun comes out it is covered with bees. The birds sit on the trees, hedge and fence posts, dive into the flowers and come out with what looks like a bee in its beak.

What made me think of it was we had to rush one of my dogs to the vets last week because it had been chasing a bee up and down the patio window and had got stung on the tongue.
He started gagging and choking, as well as chewing his tongue.
He very soon was having difficulty breathing.
After the vet gave him anti-inflammatory injection and an antihistamine injection he was ok, although feeling very sorry for himself.

'Do the birds actually swallow the sting?'
'Do they crush the sting or not eat it?'
'Does the sting not affect them?'


  1. Thanks to Richard Comont, I now have the answer.
    Some birds have adaptations while others have special techniques so they don't get stung.

  2. And of course then there are Bee-eaters. We've watched them catch a bee, and then land on a branch and "wipe" the sting out, before eating it. Impressive!

  3. Bee Eaters generally catch a bee in the tip of their beak, wipe the stinger off and then release and catch the bee in mid beak area.
    I study them for hours so that can capture the sequence on camera

    1. Thank you for your reply. That's really interesting, I bet the footage is good. Do you have Youtube or Twitter or somewhere you have the footage public?