Why You Should Cut These Red Berries Off of Your Bushes
Boy do I remember these plants from my childhood. Every house in my neighborhood in Baton Rouge had them. We would use the berries as "ammo" in our childhood game of war. The berries were not the ammo of choice, but they were a close second to a good hard spikey pine cone (those could do some damage). But if you got close enough to someone with a handful of Nandina berries, you could inflict some stinging pain.
Now I have some bad news if you love these bushes. The berries are killing songbirds all across the country. Horticultural experts are encouraging you to cut off the berries from these bushes and compost them. Birds often mistake them for food. The National Institute for Health says the seeds of these berries contain a ton of cyanide and cause a "swift and extremely painful death."
Autopsies of these dead birds show serious lung, kidney and liver damage. The birds rely on all kinds of ornamental fruits from nature. A report by the NIH says robins, mockingbirds and Cedar Waxwings (songbirds) are the hardest hit by these nandina berries.
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