I’m getting married next month. Is it true that rice causes birds’ stomachs to explode?

April 1, 2009
A dove at a wedding. Photo by SAM Nasim via Creative Commons. A dove at a wedding. Photo by SAM Nasim.

Nope! This myth has been making the rounds on and off, sometimes based on “true” stories that even in this day and age never seem to have any video or photographic support. A great many birds, from waterfowl to Bobolinks, feed on rice in nature. It’s easily digestible. That said, the whole idea of exploding birds is alarming but somehow funny enough to have inspired a Dave Barry column in 2004, but the column itself was based on an untrue rumor.

Even if rice doesn’t harm birds, it is slippery, posing a hazard for people wearing smooth-soled dress shoes. It also may attract rodents.