Waxwings: The Drunk Birds of the World

Discussion in 'Celebrate Biodiversity' started by wcutler, Oct 30, 2023.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    This quote was in a thread started by a member looking for Sitka mountain ash seeds, so not focused on birds getting drunk on the berries. But this came up on my Facebook feed today.
    Waxwings: The Drunk Birds of the World - Hasan Jasim
    There is a photo of a dozen birds passed out on a sidewalk.
     
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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  3. DerekK

    DerekK Active Member

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    There may be more than just birds getting tipsy on berries contributing to Cedar Waxwing deaths. As documented in the link below Waxwings that have eaten Nandina berries die from Hydrogen Cyanide poisoning. Mountain Ash berries also contain Hydrogen Cyanide, in the seeds in particular. I know that Purple Martins, an aerial insectivore that nests in manmade nest boxes in BC, have been observed (by me) to take pieces of Prunus spp into their nest boxes at or about hatching time. One theory being that the leaves release 'natural fumigants', hydrogen cyanide, which may deter nest parasites.
    So, it may be possible that the birds are drunk or even poisoned by Cyanide gas, or both.

    nandina-berries-kill-birds
    dn21850-drunk-birds-had-one-too-many-berries-to-blame
     
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  4. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Oh wow, Nandina has such pretty leaves and seems very popular in condo gardens (eg those ones in Yaletown near Roundhouse park - where leaves are (purposely) imprinted in to streets

    no doubt in many other parts of city along sidewalk plantings in West End and at UBC etc

    I saw cedar waxwings earlier autumn 2023 making quick harvest of neighbours’ honeysuckle vine berries

    here’s an example of Nandina avail in Greater Vancouver
    https://plants.gardenworks.ca/11190002/Plant/7509/Sienna_Sunrise_Nandina/
     
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  5. DerekK

    DerekK Active Member

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  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    About 30 today! Dull cloudy day so the pics are not too good, heavily brightened. Should get better over the next week or two...
     

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  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    A nice sunny day today, so some better pics :-)
    Perching up in treetops and feeding on Japanese Rowan Sorbus commixta berries

    DSCN0163.jpg DSCN0176.jpg DSCN0182.jpg DSCN0215.jpg DSCN0220.jpg DSCN0150.jpg
     
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  9. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Nice photos, Michael. In over 11,000 postings, is this thread only the first one in which you've posted a photo? We've been missing out all these years.
     
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  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks! I have posted a few photos before, but true, not very many! Generally of plants, inevitably.
     
  11. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Last edited: Nov 15, 2023
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks! Yes, in northeast England. We are having a 'Waxwing winter' this year, with much larger numbers than usual.

    Waxwings aren't slated for a new name, the only ones being renamed are American species named after individual people, like Audubon's Warbler. It also won't affect scientific names (so that will remain Setophaga auduboni).

    DSCN0269.jpg DSCN0275.jpg DSCN0278.jpg
     
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  13. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Nice photos!
    I'm surprised that the scientific names won't be affected. Changing common names by decree seems like an oxymoron.
     
  14. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Common names of birds are "official" (i.e., there is a determining body responsible for them), unlike common names of plants.
     
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  15. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    They are for plants in UK and most other European countries, too; BSBI being the determining body for English names of European plants, Tela Botanica likewise for French names, etc.
     

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