There is a slight bend in the rain gutter next to my window.

Over the last 4 years, I observed birds (ravens, magpies and newly doves) to dip their beaks in. I observed ravens to dip what I think was bread in.

There are many other opportunities around to take up water and just quench their thirst.

Doves drinking where ravens are around looks dangerous to me.

Maybe I'm completely mislead, but all I see makes me think these birds are kind of brewing beer.

Has anything like this be seen before? What should I think of this?


Most likely there is no fermentation going on. For fermentation to occur you usually must deplete oxygen from the system. Here is more information about it.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You don't need an oxygen depleted environment to ferment (produce ethanol). Baker's yeast (S. cerevisae) is Crabtree positive and will metabolize glucose to ethanol as the main source of energy under atmospheric oxygen conditions. $\endgroup$ – Cell Oct 5 '18 at 17:22

I think you're observing drinking and food moistening. Since birds have no teeth, food like bread, especially if dry, is easier to consume if it is moistened first.

Drinking from a gutter is attractive because most other water sources are at ground level, which means there are potentially attacks by ground-based predators as well as aerial ones. Cats are a major predator of birds. Also, it may be easier to take flight from an elevated place like a gutter than from the ground. I expect that is attractive for a large bird like a raven. Landing is easier too, as the bird's tail can be below the level of the perch and braking can also be eased by the final part of the approach being a dip with the last part being upwards which will reduce speed.

  • $\begingroup$ It was hard to decide which answer to accept. The reason I choose @BPinto is that it gave the reason to rule out fermentation. $\endgroup$ – Gyro Gearloose Oct 5 '18 at 16:18

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