Tests were conducted to determine at what dietary concentrations northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) chicks (14 days old) could discriminate between pesticide-treated and untreated food using an organophosphate (OP) insecticide, parathion, and two carbamates, carbofuran and methiocarb. Results from subacute dietary LC50 tests (one feeder of treated food per cage) were compared to tests where birds were presented with two feeders (one treated, one untreated, 9:1). In all tests, mortality was inversely related to total food consumption. No relationship was found between mortality and the amount of active ingredient ingested/bird/day. Consequently, mortality was more a function of ability to locate untreated feeders than amount of chemical ingested. When alternative food choices exist, vulnerability to poisoning can be influenced by the number and relative abundance of those choices, as well as the bird's ability to detect the chemical.