Are Foxgloves Poisonous to Birds? +[Should I Be Worried?]

Are Foxgloves Poisonous to Birds

The level of toxicity in some plants varies depending on the type of plant, the area it is growing, and the methods of irrigation used. However, for other plants, their toxicity is hidden and foxglove is one of them. It is pretty hard to establish whether the plant is poisonous just by looking at it since the beautiful flowers can be deceiving. This has made the debate about the toxicity of foxgloves plants to birds have no end in sight. Keep reading to know if the foxgloves plants are poisonous to birds or not.

Are Foxgloves Poisonous To Birds?

The foxglove plant blooms into a beautiful flower especially during summer because there are favorable temperatures to facilitate the sprouting of its seeds. The plants are poisonous not only to humans but also to birds. However, as we shall see in this article, some bird species are dependent on the foxglove plant for nectar. A good example is the ruby-throated hummingbird which depends on the foxgloves despite their poisonous nature. Nevertheless, except for the nectar, the rest of the plant is poisonous to birds. Keep reading for more detail.

The Relationship Between Birds and Foxgloves

Foxgloves are plants that bloom during the summer. Nonetheless, they are prone to attracting lots of creatures all along thanks to their beauty. From birds to bees, to most insects, they are all attracted to the beautiful color of the foxgloves petals. Interestingly, due to the foxglove nectar, the flowery plant has to tend to many daily species who yearn for its nectar. As mentioned above one of the most common species is the ruby-throated hummingbird. 

However, are foxgloves poisonous to birds? Yes. If they feed on any part except the nectar. The plants are poisonous and will react to birds if such a mistake happens. Before we learn about their side effects, the foxgloves tolerate birds but their preferred type of insects are the bees and other insects. When such insects come by, they, in turn, attract birds and give the foxgloves a chance to harm them. Foxglove plants are common in many continents but thrive well only in favorable climatic conditions. A good example is in the united states. Unlike in Europe, the foxgloves species that grow in the united states are bigger and can allow birds especially the ones with long beaks to sip out nectar. 

Growing Foxgloves For Bird Attraction

Many gardeners opt to grow foxgloves because they will attract birds to their farms. Generally, birds will come to feed on the nectar. Moreover, they also play a key role in improving the cross-pollination of other plants seedlings. 

However, the farmer should be careful about hosting excess birds when they have already planted other plants. That is because the birds might be wild and start feeding on the crops. Therefore, they should consider the portion in which they want to plant the gloves. Nonetheless, the best option would be to plant foxgloves far away from plants.  That way, their yields won’t be affected.

Benefits of Birds to Foxgloves

Birds are commonly beneficial to foxgloves for cross-pollination purposes. Moreover, they need foxgloves for survival since they feed on nectar. However, not every part of the foxglove plant is safe to feed on and this puts them at a risk. As stated earlier, birds play a key role in ensuring the foxgloves bloom every year. Additionally, despite the plants being poisonous, they offer massive health benefits to human beings. They have scientifically become some of the most unique and helpful raw materials. They aid in the manufacturing of heart-related curing drugs.

On the other hand, these plants are used for congestive heart failure and relieving fluid retention. The drug generated by foxgloves is beneficial in aiding, asthma, and tuberculosis. Foxglove has various deadly challenges, however, it has a brighter future in the scientific revolution of medicine. 

If you are considering adding a beautiful look to your garden, you may opt to grow foxgloves seedlings.  This is because the foxglove flowers extend up to 6 feet in the season and bloom lovely purple flowers. However, their colors may vary depending on the climatic conditions they are planted in as much as they are a massive attraction for nectar-sucking birds. With some moist well-drained soils and some shaded sunlight, foxgloves will bloom in no time. The plants are considered wild plants on the west coast and some parts of New England where they originated from and bloom rapidly.

FAQ About Foxgloves and Birds

1. Do birds like foxgloves?

Different birds have different feeding techniques. Also, some birds are carnivorous while others are vegetarians. However, the foxglove attracts birds that are in a quest of getting some sweet nectar. The long-beaked birds like the ruby-throated hummingbirds, are some of the various types of birds that like foxglove plants.

2. Is foxglove poisonous to chickens?

Like many other species, chickens are classified under birds in terms of reproduction and the way they feed. When compared to other birds, the chicken has vital organs and also, it is commonly used as food to man. Therefore, if any chicken consumes the foxglove plant it will be affected and probably die if no medical action is taken.

3. Are Foxgloves Invasive?

Yes, foxgloves are more invasive during summer because that’s when they sprout into beautiful flowers. However, the foxglove plant is a wild plant, and sometimes when it becomes too much of a problem, people treat it like a weed. Hence, it is considered an invasive plant around most farms, especially in the summer.

4. Do birds avoid poisonous plants?

Instinctively, birds avoid poisonous plants by all means. However, some plants are very poisonous when consumed even in the smallest portion. For example, the foxglove plant is highly poisonous when consumed even in the smallest amount. Moreover, the majority of such plants are bitter to eat hence, some birds will generally avoid them after tasting them for the first time.

5. Do foxglove plants spread?

Yes, foxglove plants spread rapidly this is more so when it dries up. The plants drop their seedlings to the ground which will later germinate at the right time.  This keeps happening every year. Therefore, if it is not well trimmed before the end of its blooming season, the plant will regrow further in the following year.

6. How toxic is a plant to a bird?

The levels of plant toxicity when consumed by birds mainly depend on three factors. This includes; the type of plant in question, the amount of poison ingested relative to the size of the bird, and the species of the bird. Some birds are immune to specific types of poison as compared to others whose genes cannot support the levels of toxicity.

7.    Are foxgloves poisonous to wild animals?

Foxgloves are poisonous flowering plants that bloom in the summer. However, do not be deceived by the color of their petals as they are poisonous.. They affect cats, dogs, and human beings by exposing their poisonous nature to them. As are domestic animals affected, also some wild animals are affected when they feed on the foxgloves. Whether leaves or any other parts of the plant, none is safe to feed on.

8.    Are hummingbirds affected when they feed on foxgloves?

Not really, this is because, unlike other birds, animals, pets, livestock, or people, hummingbirds feed on the foxgloves nectar. However, make no mistake, all parts of the foxglove are poisonous. In case anybody or anything feeds on it, it should seek immediate medical attention without any delay.

9.    What is most attracted to foxgloves?

The foxglove plant, unlike many other flowering plants, does not have many friends to interact with. Its main interactions come from bumblebees which are attracted by the purple coloring petals. Hummingbirds are also attracted by the tubular purple flowers of the foxglove plant.

With the foxglove being a biennial plant, it does not bloom until the second year after planting. However, birds keep tabs with it as it later blooms every year regardless of its short reproduction period. Foxgloves are advantageous as they grow wildly and rapidly hence will be able to accommodate the small groups of visitors as hosts.

Final Verdict

Birds and foxgloves rely on each other for survival. The foxglove plant offers nectar to specific bird species like the hummingbird, and in turn, the hummingbird aids the bird in cross-pollination which increases the chances of foxglove plants extending to new areas. Nonetheless, the plants grow rapidly and reproduce as long as the climatic conditions are in their favor.

Nevertheless, birds can easily get poisoned by foxgloves if they consume other parts of the plant. This is because the foxglove plant is still very poisonous and as stated earlier, it can easily kill. Moreover, the plant grows wildly and some animals cannot distinguish it from the rest especially in its early stages of blooming. Conclusively, foxgloves are poisonous to birds except the hummingbirds that are dependent on them for nectar.