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 is easily digestible.

The tradition of throwing rice at the end of the ceremony symbolizes rain, a sign of prosperity, fertility and good fortune. However, 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.


Cornell Lab of Ornithology

All About Birds is a free resource

Available for everyone,
funded by donors like you


Need Bird ID Help? Try Merlin

Experience the Joy of Birdwatching online course for yourself, and we'll give you one free to send to a friend!

Just purchase the course for yourself, then look for an email from us with instructions to redeem your free gift course.