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Save Birds by Removing Burdock


Photo: Lynn Pady

While cleaning up your property this fall, keep an eye out for the invasive plants known as burdocks (in the genus Arctium). Two of our friends in Toronto recently sent us a series photos showing kinglets that had died after getting caught in burdock. Other examples of small birds meeting this end have been documented in sources such as this article in the Canadian Field Naturalist.

Getting rid of invasive burdock on your property is one way you can help small birds, including the numerous ones that leave boreal forest breeding grounds and migrate south in the fall. Here are some resources to help you identify Common Burdock and Giant/Great Burdock.

Make sure you dispose of the burrs in a secure garbage container or by burning – not on an open compost heap. We also recommend that you look for the large, rhubarb-like leaves next summer and remove burdock plants before the burrs form.

Thank you to Lynn Pady and Jean Iron for bringing this problem to our attention.

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