Till date, it was considered that uric acid was the major component in bird poop. It was responsible for the white color, texture and the sticky nature of the bird droppings. But, recent findings have proved this theory wrong, and uric acid is not the culprit. Because according to the latest study done in Austin, Texas, there is no Uric acid present in bird droppings. The myth existed because birds excrete their urine along with the droppings. Hence, it has a paste-like texture.
Mr. Bob Folk published a paper in 1969, which was supported by X-ray diffraction analysis. It showed that bird droppings did not contain uric acid. He carried out this test on 17 different samples. But, his work was challenged in 1971 saying that a species of parrot, Budgies had no trace of uric acid. This result was obtained using the same method. Mr. Nick Crouch, University of Texas’ scientist, had the same question in his mind as Mr. Folk. He wanted check whether Folk’s analysis was correct or not. So, he carried out thorough research regarding this topic. He took a sample from the droppings of 12 different species. These species varied from a chicken to the great horned owl. He carried out in the hope that modern technology would yield a fresh result. His results showed that the bird droppings do not contain uric acid. Instead it contained two unknown compounds and ammonium urate. He said that the compounds are an outcome of a chemical reaction between bacteria present in the bird’s guts and the uric acid.
The obtained results were published in the Journal of Ornithology’s August edition. Julia Clarke and Vincent lynch helped Crouch to co-author this report. Julia teaches Geosciences at Jackson School, and Vincent is research scientist and chemist at UT College of Natural Sciences. Crouch studies biodiversity and bird evolution. He said that his research will open new doorways to science as it suggests that conventional thinking can yield new outcomes if questioned.