Weed Dangerous to Hummingbirds

Things You Should Know About Gardening

by: Marilyn Pokorney

  • 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.
    Website: http://www.apluswriting.net

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