I am basing this on what I had heard in yeshiva a while ago, so I don't know the exact source of the reasoning.

My understanding is that according to the Torah, birds (poultry) were considered parve and could be eaten with dairy. However, the rabbis placed a restriction (gezera) on birds making them fleishig (meat) as they were worried that people would get confused and think that other animals would be parve as well.

I'm uncertain as to why there would be any confusion. Birds have wings, so they are easily recognized as being different in appearance than sheep or cows. What was the concern?

If the concern was regarding all living creatures / animals, then, why wasn't the concern extended to fish and place the same gezera on fish making that fleishig as well so that people wouldn't be confused?

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    My guess is that birds must slaughtered properly, similarly to land animals. This is in contrast to fish, fruit, eggs, etc. which may be killed in any way. – Ypnypn Jul 13 '15 at 3:20
  • Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8961 – msh210 Jul 13 '15 at 4:28
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    Some birds were offered as sacrifices. They require special slaughter. Their blood must be removed (and covered like wild animals). In addition, when the people requested "meat" in the wilderness and got birds they were satisfied so they considered birds to be meat. – CashCow Jul 13 '15 at 9:29
  • @CashCow (Kinda funny that I'm commenting about meat to "CashCOW ;-) - interesting answer. If you can source, this makes a great answer, IMO. It doesn't completely answer regarding fish, though, but, I guess that since they were never offered as sacrifices, there was no concern. – DanF Jul 13 '15 at 14:46

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