Curious I have always thought because of White Cedar’s toxicity. Poisonous to poultry, for example, as well as pigs sheep etc. 5 berries are said to be enough to kill a small child
From: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Date: Monday, 29 December 2014 6:57 pm
To: chatline <>
Subject: [canberrabirds] World's most bird attracting tree?
Something on which I am sure opinions will vary. Some might reasonably propose the coconut palm or a northern hemisphere conifer. I have seen flowering callistemons in north Queensland being attended by a half-dozen species of honeyeater,
and a fruiting berrigan in western NSW can hold its own in the best company. The question is suggested by my receiving from a French visitor to Canberra of a few weeks ago a photo from his garden in Toulouse. This carries the description: ‘les perruches
a collier sont perches et mangent les fruits des arbres: Melias azedarach ou Lila de Perse’ (apologies for omitted accent symbols). The photo shows a plant familiar to Australians: ‘our’ White Cedar. This is a common natural or planted or feral tree over
the warmer parts of Australia. In fact, its natural range extends southward from India. There are early records of its wider cultivation. It was planted in 879 BCE at Nimrud, the ancient military capital of Assyria, and a Chinese test ca 300 BCE relates
that the fruit was eaten by a ‘fabulous bird’.
As to its bird-attracting credentials Wikipedia has a picture of a Grey Hornbill enjoying the fruit, and states 3 hummingbird species have been recorded feeding at the flowers (it is a widespread escape in N and S America as well as Africa
etc etc). Below is the parakeet of Toulouse, the aforementioned hornbill and my own snap of a red-tailed black-cockatoo at Bourke where both the tree and the cockatoo (seasonally) are a common sight. There is a specimen in ANBG which I have seen being used
by king parrots.