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Nandina domestica "Heavenly Bamboo" is deadly for Cedar Waxwings birds

Discussion in 'Nature/Habitat/Garden Corner' started by OSimpson, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. OSimpson

    OSimpson Certified Master Naturalist

    Sep 24, 2006
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    Feeding Behavior-Related Toxicity due to Nandina domestica in Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum)
    from US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

    Dozens of Cedar Waxwings were found dead in Thomas County, Georgia, USA, in April 2009. Five of these were examined grossly and microscopically. Grossly, all the examined birds had pulmonary, mediastinal, and tracheal hemorrhages. Microscopically, several tissues and organs were diffusely congested and hemorrhagic. Congestion and hemorrhage were marked in the lungs. Intact and partly digested berries of Nandina domestica Thunb. were the only ingesta found in the gastrointestinal tract of these birds. Due to their voracious feeding behavior, the birds had eaten toxic doses of N. domestica berries. N. domestica contains cyanide and is one of the few berries readily available at this time of the year in the region. The gross and microscopic findings are consistent with lesions associated with cyanide toxicity. This paper for the first time documents toxicity associated with N. domestica in Cedar Waxwings.

    More details of the study
  2. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2006
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    Several years ago, I found out the berries contain cyanide which is poisonous to all birds, not just Cedar Waxwings. Food becomes scarce and the bright red berries are attractive to our hungry feathered friends. If you have Nandina in your garden, remove the berries before winter or just get rid of the shrub.

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