Birds will explode from eating rice thrown at weddings.
This popular urban legend warns people to never pick up a baby bird that has apparently fallen out of their nest because the parents of the bird will smell the human scent on their baby and subsequently reject the
Here you will find the facts to popular bird related urban legends and common misconceptions.
baby bird. However, this urban legend is False. Truth be told, birds can not detect the scent of a human on other birds. The reason for this is due to the fact that birds actually have a very poorly developed sense of smell. The only exception to this is vultures, who do have a keen sense of smell.
So, how did this urban legend get its start? Its origins may have been based on two unrelated reasons why parents kick their young out of the nest. Parents will kick their young out of the nest in order to tech them how to fly. They will also kick them out of the nest as a sign of rejection when they sense that their baby is not developing properly.
Though a bird can not detect the human scent on another bird, mammalian predators such as raccoons and foxes can, and will follow that scent straight to the nest. Due to this, it is still wise to avoid touching a nest or nestlings unnecessarily.
If a human touches a baby bird, its parents will reject it.
A popular urban legend that has been around for decades is that you should never throw rice at weddings because wild birds will eat the rice and explode due to the rice expanding in their stomachs and/or crops.
This, however, is simply not true. In fact, many birds (such as the bobolink and numerous waterfowl and shorebirds) eat rice as part of their normal diet. Some birds even rely on rice to assist in keeping their weight up to a healthy level throughout the winter months. The Bobolink (also known as the “rice bird”) eats so much rice that they are considered a threat to rice farmers due to the birds eating so much of their rice crops. Though it is true that white rice increases in volume by 33% when introduced to moisture, the effect has no ill effects on birds. One of the reasons for this is due to the fact that the rice (and all food eaten by birds) is broken down and passed through a birds digestive system much too quickly for it to expand. Ironically, bird seed actually expands to an even greater volume when introduced to moisture then rice does... 40% to be exact. So, using the theory of the urban legend, birds stomachs should be exploding from eating bird seed well before eating rice, and that simply doesn’t happen. So by all means, feel safe in throwing rice at a wedding, knowing you will not be harming any birds.