Birdseed, and Weddings
(04/02/2018) | Categories:
| Wedding Traditions |
traditionally thrown at weddings, represents good
wishes for Protection, Rain, Fertility, Money, but
it is rarely seen nowadays because churches,
reception venues, and local authorities usually ban
the throwing of rice, along with confetti.
The real reason for the ban – reducing cleanup costs
together with minimising risk to humans – does not grab
the imagination. So the story has spread that the
ban on throwing rice is in place to protect birds, which
will explode if they eat uncooked rice.
Rice is safe for birds
That birds will explode if they eat uncooked rice is a
myth so often repeated that it has become a firmly
ingrained belief! Here are the facts:
- Uncooked regular rice only expands by a third when
moistened, whereas bird seed expands by 40%.
- Uncooked rice is no more harmful to birds than
birdseed or the rice they may feed on in the field.
- Many migrating species of birds depend on
winter-flooded rice fields to build strength for
their return to their breeding grounds.
It is the humans who use these venues who are at real
risk of harm if rice is thrown.
- There is the chance that a grain will go into an
- Uncooked rice on floors and walking surfaces,
particularly hard wooden, marble, stone, concrete,
and tiled surfaces, constitutes a slipping/falling
hazard for both staff and guests.
- Venue proprietors and local authorities ban the
throwing of rice to minimise their risk of being
The truth about birdseed
The banning of rice tosses has created a link in the
mind of the public between rice and harm to birds, and
given rise to promotion of birdseed as an alternative.
Unfortunately, birdseed presents the same risk in
regards to injuries to guests from slipping and falling.
In addition, there is the added risk of the sharp parts
of many seeds injuring eyes.
Further, there is no such thing as generic birdseed.
Different species of birds will feed on different types
and sizes of seeds. Birdseed designed for exotic caged
birds is not suitable for wild birds. The wild birds
native to the location of your wedding may eat the
birdseed toss if it was thrown on lawn, but what is more
likely to happen is that some of the seeds will
germinate, and, because bird seed is a combination of
seeds for plants that are rarely part of normal garden
planting, hey presto, you have weeds.
Finally, though this may seem to be stating the obvious,
birdseed attracts birds. Imagine a birdseed toss in a
city with a large pigeon population that has no fear of
humans. The marrying couple, the guests, the
photographer, the videographer, and the celebrant would
be unlikely to escape without catching bird droppings in
their hair and on their clothes, and frenzied birds
swooping and diving are guaranteed to ruin any attempt
at taking happy, relaxed, photographs of the couple.
Polished white rice, by all means, out on a private lawn
or in a paddock. It is not going to germinate. But
elsewhere stick to petals or bubbles - but check with
your venue first, some ban even those.