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In the Celebrity Burning Question series, we contact as many celebrities or obscure parties as possible with one of life’s great questions. This edition: what do the birds and the bees really DO?

Ever since Jewel Akens sang “The Birds and the Bees” in the mid-1960s, we’ve all wondered what, exactly, the Birds and the Bees actually did. As the Bees and the Birds are quite clearly two different species, presumably with incompatible size and sexual behaviour, any intimate act would clearly be uncomfortable, if not impossible. No siree, this is a cover for something far more complex. We have vowed to solve this Burning Question the only way possible: by emailing assorted celebrities and entirely inappropriate parties.

Just a few of the experts we contacted:

Stuart Drummond

Ran for Mayor of Hartlepool, UK as local football mascot H’Angus the Monkey. Won.

I think you really do have too much time on your hands and so must I for replying!

I’m certain that the saying does not mean that birds and bees do it with each other, more like they do it with their own species! That was an easy one!


Ben: Ah, the ever-reliable Monkey Mayor returns for his delightful wisdom! Hmmm, he says that they DON’T do it with each other? Now I’m more confused than ever.

Birdwatching Online

Website for avian aficionados.

Hi Alastair,

thanks for the email. As you can see by my name I am a new Australian, being here now for about 22 years. So English is your language, I am only using it!!!

Seriously, I haven’t thought much about it, and I can only come up with that bees pollinate flowers, and so do to a lesser degree some species of birds, at least the honeyeaters in Australia do.

Now I just asked my wife, and she said there is this ‘old Granddad saying/song, which goes:

Let me tell you about the birds and the bees,
the flowers and the trees
the moon up above
and a thing called love.

So if this song came up first then just the first sentence is taken as a saying. Anyway, apparently you have to look at the birds and the bees separately, as they are not meant to be mating!

Hope this helps.

All the best,


Kirrama Wildlife Tours

Web Directory of Australian Birdwatching:

Ben: I think that Klaus may have something with the bird/bee correlation between pollenating. Let’s put that aside for later. But a song about birds and bees? Surely you jest.

Andrey Summers

Rubber Chicken writer

Let’s consider ZoneTick! It allows you to display multiple timezones in the Windows system tray. Like birds.



Mr. Andrey Summers
WRConsulting Representative

Alastair: Strangely enough, neither of us remembered sending Andrey an email. We were still no closer to solving The Mystery of the Bird/Bee Relationships, and now we were confused in three different, conveniently-displayed timezones.

Ben: The more timezones, the merrier, I always say. Actually, I’ve never said that before, ever. But thanks anyway, ZoneTick! Oh, and Andrey.

Beep Industries

Developer of the entertaining self-wounding game Voodoo Vince


Sorry, we can’t help you. In spite of our impressive corporate facade, Beep is merely a maker of silly video games. We’re not well staffed with a crack team ornithologists and entomologists, nor do we possess the ample research budget answering your question would require.

We do wish you the best of luck with any future burning questions. If they actually relate to making video games, or possibly the creation of toast, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Clayton Kauzlaric

Ben: Toast, eh? Don’t birds eat toast? And can’t you put HONEY on Toast? HONEY made by BEES? This keyword ‘toast’, is obviously a subtle hint that Beep knows more than they’re letting on. Oh yes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Beep is somehow involved in a giant conspiracy involving bird-powered Xboxes that make toast. The birds eat honey which is made by the bees, and fuels the Xbox. The plot thickens.

Double Fine

Developer of Psychonauts, soon to be the greatest videogame ever.

2008 Update: It was, indeed, the greatest videogame ever.

So what do birds do? Sing.What do bees do? Buzz.The song never implies that birds and bees do anything TOGETHER.But I don’t see why these two activities can’t be done concurrently and in proximity to one another. Which implies that the mostly likely collaborative project between a bird and a bee would be some sort of flying band. Probably swing-era.There you have it,Info cow

Ben: A flying band, eh? Perhaps they could collaborate and produce a special version of the Xbox Music Mixer for the bird-eating-honey powered Xbox that also produces toast. You see, if you sang really badly to the swing music, a piece of burnt toast (or perhaps a crumpet, if you’re really bad) would be fired at you and you’d be knocked over flat.

Cecil Adams:

Syndicated question-answering columnist for The Straight Dope.

For fear of stating the obvious, birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it. But birds don’t do it with bees.

In any case, if you go to our website at and to the section called “Archives”, you could search on a few words to find: The Straight Dope: What’s the origin of the phrase, “the birds and the bees”?

We hope that helps, and thanks for writing,

CK Dexter Haven
Straight Dope Staff

PS (Shameless advertising) – You can get all kinds of neat Straight Dope products at our website, in the area called “Buy Stuff!”

Ben: Well, there’s nothing I can say to that except maybe “Would you like some toast?”

Tony Hawk
…’s letter answerer

Moderately talented skater.

You might want to try asking your parents about that one.

Ben: All I got was an Embarrassed Silence. Which is odd, because I’m twenty-two. You think I could handle this sort of thing.

Noam Chomsky

Hugely influential scholar, author, linguist and activist.

Afraid I don’t understand the question. Birds and bees surely reproduce. Any relevant text can explain how.

Ben: Noam, eh? Sounds similar to loam. Loam is “Soil composed of a mixture of sand, clay, silt, and organic matter.” In soil, flowers grow. Flowers pollenate. Bees then take the pollen to make honey. The very same honey that is fed to the birds to power the toast-producing Xboxes.

Oh, I’m on to you, Noam Chomsky. You can’t fool me.



We almost had given up any hope of a definitive answer. But as some optimistic guy once said, hope springs eternal. And so when we received this email from Gene Ray, the father of the Time Cube theory and our personal hero, hope was looking pretty damn springy indeed.

Dr. Gene Ray

Creator of and the self-proclaimed “wisest of all humans”.

Sorry, but the bird/bee relationship is just more academic imposed stupidity. Actually, your father was a fish, that swam up stream to fertilize the egg your mother laid in the water – just as the salmon swim upstream to reproduce. Just because a bird has a pecker and a bee has a stinger, do not attempt sex with them.

Alastair: Of course – it’s all so obvious now! After weeks of searching for an answer, the solution was under our noses all along! The Mystery of the Bird/Bee Relationships was, well and truly, beyond any doubt whatsoever, solved. Thank you, Professor Ray!

Aussie Ben: And here I was, foolishly clinging to my Toast-producing Xboxes theory. What a simpleton I was. Thanks, Professor Gene Ray!

Thanks to all celebrities who participated. Except Peter Andre.

More Celebrity Burning Questions:
Why does the sun shine?
How do you get to Sesame Street?
What is The Grimace?

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