Myth: Follow Birds and You’ll Find Water
- Survival Situation: Lost & Dehydrated
Birds can be quite helpful, and sailers will tell you that if you see them, then it’s a safe bet you’re relatively close to land. Birds do not travel too far away from land that they cannot get back without getting too tired. Even for birds that fly south for the winter, they do so mostly over land or close to it. While they can be useful here, birds are not very reliable when it comes to finding water. This is one of the big survival myths that likely got lost in translation or we misremembered by assuming “water” when we meant “land.”
The myth usually surrounds watching for specific aquatic birds, which most people might not recognize. Even if they do, the myth often does not revolve around a specific bird type. It is true that some aquatic birds rarely leave the water’s edge, so if you see them, it is likely you’re close to water. However, if you actually get that close then you’d likely hear the water before then. Geese among other birds might fly toward water sources in the evening. Yet that is not always the case, and you might follow birds into a giant clearing. Far from any water source. Now you’re tired, spent up precious energy, and all for nothing.