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The "Bird Catcher Tree"

The Parapara tree or Pisonia brunoniana is a New Zealand native and a member of the Bougainvillea family.  It is an island dweller mainly, found on places like the Three Kings and the Hen and Chicken Islands, but can also be found in a few coastal places in the North Island. To ensure the dispersal of its seeds, the seedpods are encased in a sticky coating which glue themselves to the feathers of passing seabirds.

The parapara has become the garden enemy of bird-lovers, due to its ability to capture small (and sometimes quite large) birds who get too close and come to a sticky end.  During the Spring and early Summer, the seedheads turn black and are coated in a glue-like substance that can remain for eight months. Curious bugs get caught in the glue, which then attract small birds. 

Birds such as fantails, silvereyes and kingfishers become gummed up in the gluey substance, and either get stuck to the tree, or get free from the tree but with glue all over their feathers, they fall to the ground, collecting dirt, soil and leaves on their sticky feathers.  At this point the birds can no longer fly, and either starve or are taken by cats or dogs.  Not a nice outcome in any way shape or form. 



 

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