From Wiki Answers: While rice itself is not harmful to birds, the reason why some birds die from eating dried rice is that it expands considerably when it is soaked in a liquid for a long period of time or cooked under heat. Birds with small stomachs who eat too much dry rice will literally die from popped stomachs, as they cannot digest the dried grains before they expand too much inside their little tummies. Although birds have been eating rice much longer than humans have been throwing it at weddings, dried rice is a human invention. In the field, rice is found in a very different manner and you find at your everyday grocery market. Along the same lines, cooked rice is perfectly safe.
Most sources say uncooked rice is fine. But please do keep in consideration the size of your birds' tummies. Rice, and other grains, DO expand when warm and wet (FACT). If they are full up on dry grains (just like us), the moisture will cause them to expand up to double in size (FACT). Some grains expand more than others. Dry rice and noodles almost double in size. While the rice itself is fine, it can't be good for any animal to have it's stomach stretched to twice normal capacity (OPINION AS I'M NOT A DR).
Cornell University says: If birds eat uncooked rice, can it swell up in their throats and stomachs and kill them?
Lots of birds eat uncooked rice in the wild. Bobolinks, sometimes called rice birds, are a good example. While rice is okay for birds, many wedding parties now throw bird seed instead. (my addition: Please note that uncooked rice in the wild is NOT the same as what you see in the grocery store. I don't know what the differences are but as I understand, we would not just go and pick and boil wild rice although I have no idea if that is true)
Snopes says that uncooked rice is fine. But after further research, their research was taken from a company that grows...... wait for it...... rice! What better company to say weather or not their product is good for you and your pets!? I tend to not trust research done by a company for the sole purpose of making that same company look good.
In the 50's my mother's family would kill seagulls by overfeeding rice and bread as I recall her telling us. The way she told the story it seemed like it did not take long for the birds to die. She would recall watching the birds die.
Edited by Larrelye - 3/16/12 at 6:03am