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Weed Dangerous to Hummingbirds
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Copyright: 2009 Marilyn Pokorney
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If you love hummingbirds, keep your garden, yard, and
property clear of weeds. Especially burdock. The prickly
seedheads of common burdock can trap and kill hummingbirds.
During September, 1998, three hummingbirds were caught and
died in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. A fourth
hummingbird was rescued by bird watchers.
According to National Park Service biologists, the burrs act
like Velcro. The barbed points on the burrs cling
steadfastly to fur, clothing, skin, feathers--almost
anything that comes near.
As the tiny birds thrash around trying to free themselves
they become even more entrapped.
While not much has been written about the subject, a
consulting ornithologist in Burnaby British Columbia reports
that the weed does occasionally claim the lives of small
birds and even brown bats.
Burdock, also known as Cockle Burr, is a biennial plant
which can grow to nine feet in height. Other names include
Fox's Clote, Thorny Burr, Beggar's Buttons, Cockle Buttons,
Love Leaves, Burr Seed, Clothburr, Turkey Burrseed and many
Burdock was imported from Europe and is now widely
distributed in waste areas, abandoned farms, or any
uncultivated area in North America. It can also appear in
gardens and lawns.
The plant produces a rosette of large leaves, produces 15 to
40 or more pink or lavender flowers, and has a taproot of up
to 40 inches in length.
The plant must be eliminated before the flowers ripen and
form the brown prickly burrs which spread the seeds.
Selective or spot herbicide treatment isn't always effective
because of it's deep taproot. Pulling up or digging the
plant is the most effective but the entire taproot must be
removed. The sooner this is done the easier it is to do.
Smaller plants can be dug up using a standard garden fork or
dandelion digger, and larger ones using a long-handled bulb
For more on natural, organic weed control visit:
About the author:
Author: Marilyn Pokorney
Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the
Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.
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