what will make birds explode

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As ornithologist Steven Sibley pointed out in his response to Landers’ column, the urban myth is laughable because a number of birds happen to adore rice. In fact, some species depend on wild and farmed rice to get through harsh winter seasons, according to a Snopes article written about the claim.

Sadly, the birds’ inability to digest raw rice occurs when they consume it. Schmidle told the Associated Press, “When it gets in their stomachs, it expands and causes them to die violently.” “Several ministers have told me that they see all these birds toppled over the morning after a wedding, as a result of the rice poisoning.” ”.

That persistent urban myth can be traced back at least 30 years, to when former Connecticut State Rep. Mae S. Schmidle introduced a bill that would ban rice-throwing at weddings. Schmidle introduced the measure, which would enforce a $50 fine for rice-throwing, in 1985, and told reporters that she had received backing for the idea from the Audubon Society. In fact, she said, one other state had already banned throwing rice at weddings to protect the birds; she just couldn’t remember which one.

Bird experts, however, told the Associated Press that the bill was inherently silly. There was no evidence then, or now, that uncooked rice is harmful to birds. Still, the myth lived on, to be spread by pundits and by characters in hit TV shows. The Simpsons has even featured the myth in one of its episodes. And to the chagrin of many ornithologists, advice columnist Ann Landers promoted the myth in the column; even though she later retracted the claim, her column gave the myth significant credibility and visibility.

If you want further proof that the claim is false, feel free to rely on this scientific study published in The American Biology Teacher, a peer-reviewed journal for those who teach biology to students ranging from kindergarten age through undergrad. In the study, a University of Kentucky professor, James Krupa, had his students experiment to see whether the rice myth could be true by testing out how much a grain of rice expands after being exposed to water. The students found out that bird seed actually expands far more than rice does (40 percent compared to 33 percent), meaning that if uncooked rice was enough to do the job, birds should already be dropping from the seed offered in backyard feeders across America. Since instant rice is sometimes rumored to be more harmful than other varieties, Krupa even tested that theory as well. Once he was certain that it was likely impossible for the rice to harm a bird, he fed a flock of doves and pigeons he kept at home a diet of instant rice and water for one day. As he predicted the birds were fine. Not a single explosion in sight.

I have 50 years of professional experience as a practicing ornithologist and Ive never heard of such a thing before,” president of the Connecticut Ornithological Association Roland C. Clement told AP at the time. “Of course, there can always be a first time, but I would have to see some evidence before I would promote the idea.Advertisement

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“Rice is no threat to birds. It must be boiled before it will expand. Furthermore, all the food that birds swallow is ground up by powerful muscles and grit in their gizzards,” he wrote, in a letter which was then published. “Many birds love rice, as any frustrated rice farmer will tell you.”

Regretfully, the birds are unable to digest the raw rice that they eat. Schmidle continued, “I’ve heard from several ministers that the morning after a wedding, they see all these birds toppled over because they got poisoned by the rice. When it gets in their stomachs, it expands and causes them to have violent deaths.” “.

The students measured the amount that various seeds and rice grains expand when water is added in the first section of the experiment. They discovered that while seeds that birds usually eat expand about 40 percent on average (field corn expanding about 53 percent and red wheat expanding about 65 percent), jasmine rice expanded about 33 percent.


What happens if a pigeon eats rice?

According to urban legend, uncooked rice can expand in a bird’s stomach, leading to tearing and even death. Many people have even stopped throwing rice at weddings out of fear of doing harm to flocks. However, there is no truth to this belief, and they’re able to eat grain just like other pests can.

Can you feed uncooked rice to birds?

Uncooked raw rice is good food for birds. Whether you soak it or cook it, it is a personal choice. Finches and sparrows with beaks adapted to crush grains would rather have raw grain rice. Larger birds do not have any problem handling row rice grains.

Can birds eat cooked rice with salt?

How to Prepare Rice for Birds to Eat. If you think you might have leftover rice and share it with the birds later, the best thing you can do is cook your rice unsalted and unseasoned and only add flavouring to the rice that you intend to eat yourself. This is because plain cooked rice is the safest choice for birds.

Can seagulls eat french fries?

Foods like breads, crackers and french fries are com- monly offered to gulls, but these items are nutritionally inferior and poor substitutes for natural foods. Gulls with a highly artificial diet may suffer long-term health problems.