Fact or Fiction: Uncooked Rice is Bad for Birds



You may have heard that throwing rice at weddings will hurt wild birds. But we’re here to say that myth isn’t backed up by the science — and we can prove it with chemistry.

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Credits:
Producer: Sean Parsons
Writer: Alexa Billow
Scientific Consultants: James Krupa, PhD; Michelle Boucher, PhD; Brianne Raccor, PhD
Executive Producer: Hilary Hudson

Music:
Loopster from Kevin MacLeod

Sources:
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/against-the-grain/
http://mentalfloss.com/article/31421/does-wedding-rice-really-make-birds-explode
https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/feeding-birds/safe-food-for-birds/
https://www.thoughtco.com/do-birds-explode-if-they-eat-wedding-rice-3298982
http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1662/0002-7685(2005)067%5B0223%3AACEFTU%5D2.0.CO%3B2
https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf034758o
http://sciencemeetsfood.org/rice-science-101-introduction-making-great-rice-home/

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19 thoughts on “Fact or Fiction: Uncooked Rice is Bad for Birds

  1. Reactions November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    This myth has appeared in all kinds of places, including an episode of The Simpsons in 2000.

  2. Kyle Duncan November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    My whole life has been a lie…

  3. shinchan the best November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    286 liker!

  4. mr_os November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Man I so much wanted this to be true….
    In my neighborhood, we have a pigeon infestations. All balconies are covered with bird poop…

  5. Ginny Jolly November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Still, throwing birdseed isn't a bad thing. I thought it very cool and colorful at my wedding! And it's tried and true.

    And so many "traditions" are just ideas that a number of people have adopted. Numbers of people have different ideas about color, money, decorations, food, flowers, etc. around the world, and they are all taken as traditional.

  6. Mykasan November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    i don't think that's the point of the ornithologists. Those grains are just not needed for birds.

  7. MrBlaq November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Rice? We always fed them Alka Seltzer when I was a kid.

  8. Mieke Kuppen November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I´m sure you did your research on this and it´s actually safe but you´re not being very precise here. Comparing birds eating rice in the wild to them having dried rice is especially strange to me. Have you never had fresh wheat berries? They´re soft and easy to chew, quite unlike the dried stuff you buy in the supermarket.

  9. Andrew Gleizer November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I've got a theory on the disproportionate expansion of cooked rice; the dehydration used in the drying process after the rice has been cooked causes the structure to shrink uniformly as the stresses from the water on the starch structure are removed, causing the granules to shrink, but because the process is typically done in a dessicator, the structure shift is going to be limited kinetically, making it more prone to rehydration with the new cooked-and-shrunk starch granules compared to just raw rice.

  10. Kassidar November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    If the water is going into the rice after the rice already fit inside the container (bird's crop) then the volume is conserved.
    When the rice absorbs the water and expands that same water isn't still outside the rice to add to the total volume.

  11. Jamie Anan-ua November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    It hurts like heck when youre hit with it

  12. Enigma 25 November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Love all your videos (highly informative, clear narration & brilliantly filmed), Keep up the amazing work 👍👍🏼

  13. Rose Gold November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I be damned if someone throw a handful of rice at me after my wedding

  14. dingdong November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    You shouldn't throw rice at weddings, because you're wasting food.

  15. ajinkya raskar November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    We also throw rice in Hindu wedding

  16. Mivichi November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    So the real reason not to throw rice is because no one wants to clean it up afterwards, I guess.

    And if it’s not cleaned up, birds will eat it, so the new problem will be the bird poop everywhere.

  17. Ohmydog Ohmydog November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Exploding birds the name of my new alternative rock band with an accordion.

  18. Ohmydog Ohmydog November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I want to see exploding birds.

  19. God Bidoof November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    First

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