We’ve all heard the warning: don’t feed rice to birds or don’t throw rice at weddings because birds will eat it. Fact is, rice cooked or uncooked won’t hurt wild birds at all. The rumor is that uncooked rice hits the bird’s tummy and then swells causing its stomach to explode. It’s simply not true. It’s not hot enough in a bird’s stomach to actually “cook” the rice. So, the rice doesn’t swell and cause any sort of an explosion.
According to Snopes.com, the rumor was perpetuated in a 1996 Ann Landers column. But, no need to worry. Birds eat rice during migration all the time, and they do just fine. While the rumor that eating rice kills birds isn’t true, fact is it’s been so popular that the rumor has pretty much killed the tradition of throwing rice at weddings. It may be for the best. Rice probably isn’t the easiest thing for churches to have to clean. Many people have switched from throwing rice to throwing white millet at weddings. It’s environmentally friendly for the birds, and it’s soft on the happy couple.
Please send us your fact or fiction questions. You can also visit ColesWildBird.com and ask Professor Jay all your burning bird questions. Whether he gives you an accurate answer or not, he claims to know it all, and you’ll have fun listening to him come up with some sort of answer.
Many of our comments are about what you can and can’t feed birds. In general, it is not recommended to feed wild or domestic birds dairy on a regular basis; however, in small amounts, cheese, yogurt, and occasional sips of milk are not considered harmful. Interestingly, like mammals some wild birds do produce a form of “milk” for their young. Below is an interesting article on the subject.