are nandina berries poisonous to birds

Heavenly bamboo, commonly referred to as nandina, is a popular, evergreen landscape plant that produces vibrant red berries and resembles hollies.

You’ve probably heard that the red nandina berries are toxic and harmful to birds. Is there any truth to that claim?

Yes, nandina berries are toxic. They contain cyanide. In large amounts, they can be deadly to birds. However, birds that eat small quantities of berries will likely be fine.

Berries are typically not the first food source birds seek out. They hunt for seeds, insects, plants, and nuts to provide them with nutrients to survive. If those food sources are not readily available, they will eat berries in small amounts.

While it is true that nandina berries are toxic, the number of berries a bird eats determines how it will affect the bird.

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This shrub is also known as Heavenly Bamboo, Sacred Bamboo, or Nandina. Most landscaping mixtures in yards, parks, hospital grounds, and other places in the lower 48 states contain Nandina domestica. Its vivid red berries and striking dark green foliage give landscapes a pop of color and texture. Some homeowners plant nandina specifically to feed birds, such as the Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Mockingbird, and others that rely on winter fruits for survival. When there is a shortage of food, hungry birds are drawn to the long-lasting nandina berries. But research indicates that growing nandina actually hurts birds rather than helps them.

When dozens of Cedar Waxwings were found dead in Thomas County, Georgia, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, found the cause to be Nandina berries. Read their report. All the birds had intact Nandina berries in their crops. There was hemorrhaging in the heart, lungs, trachea, abdominal cavity and other organs.

The U. S. The majority of states and the Department of Agriculture identify Nandina domestica as an invasive, toxic, non-native weed that originated in China and Japan. It has spread throughout the United States, naturalizing and invading national forests, city parks, national parks, and wildlife refuges. S. However, without any restrictions, residential and commercial landscapers continue to plant this harmful species. There have been reports of bird deaths in Houston and other states in addition to Georgia. For birds, hydrogen cyanide is a painful and needless means of death. Moreover, dogs, cats, and numerous other animals are poisoned by nandina.

It’s likely that you’ve heard that red nandina berries are poisonous and detrimental to birds. Is there any truth to that claim?.

Usually, berries are not the first food source that birds search for. In order to get the nutrients they need to survive, they hunt for seeds, insects, plants, and nuts. In the event that those food sources are unavailable, they will occasionally consume berries.

Visit MSU Smart Landscapes for additional resources on landscape plants. They provide excellent advice on how to design a low-maintenance yard that is advantageous to your house, the surrounding area, and wildlife.

Yes, nandina berries are toxic. They contain cyanide. In large amounts, they can be deadly to birds. Birds that consume little amounts of berries, though, should be alright.

Although nandina berries are poisonous, the amount of berries a bird consumes determines the effects on the bird.


Can birds safely eat nandina berries?

Popular garden shrub berries are toxic to birds and other animals. Nandina domestica is toxic to birds and other animals. You know this shrub as Nandina, Sacred Bamboo or Heavenly Bamboo.

Are nandina berries poisonous to animals?

Nandina can be very toxic to your dog or other pet. The red berries within the shrub appear welcoming and tasty; however, eating the berries, leaves, and stems can cause poisoning. The reason for this is that the shrub and all of its parts contain natural defenses known as cyanogenic glycosides.

Can squirrels eat nandina berries?

Nandina berries contain a tiny amount of cyanide along with other alkaloids that produce hydrogen cyanide (HCN) which is a highly toxic substance to all humans and animals. Eating too many of these berries can be fatal to birds, animals, and humans. It’s best to keep this plant far away from your pets as a precaution.

Do birds eat poisonous berries?

Many bird species can eat the fruits of plants that are toxic to humans —even the white berries found on poison ivy. These birds just aren’t sensitive to the compounds in the berries that are irritating or poisonous to people.