Thursday, June 21, 2018

14 Jan

How to Spot a Diseased Garden Bird!

Finches often suffer from Trichomonosis

Birds, like us suffer from illnesses. Often these aren’t life threatening and don’t spread between species- but they can sometimes be fatal. Birds rely on you to provide them with extra food, especially in urban areas. This, however can also be the cause of illnesses – with so many birds using the same feeders, baths and bird tables, disease can quickly spread.

How to spot a diseased bird…


Like E.Coli, can cause birds to become letharigic, unresponsive to danger and they stay close to feeders.  Salmonella is a bacterial infection that’s spread by droppings. Many strains of the disease only affect one group but others can affect a range of birds.

Avian Tuberculousis…

Avian Tuberculousis is a bacterial infection that affects a wide range of birds including ducks, sparrows, starlings, gulls and pigeons. It spreads through droppings, so a popular bird table can be assisting in spreading the disease. Birds can develop scab-like skin legions or large pink growths.


The trichomonad parasite lives in the upper digestive tract of the bird and progresssively blocks their throat so they can’t eat. It has had a massive affect on Finches since 2005, causing them to decline. The disease is mostly found in Greenfinches and doesn’t effect humans or domestic animals.

Symptoms include a ‘puffed up’ neck, excessive saliva, laboured breathing and regurgitating food. Trichomonosis is passed on during the breeding season and when large groups of birds feed and bathe together.

What to do…

Apart from calling the vet, the only thing you can do is stop your garden birds from becoming ill. Cleaning bird feeders, baths and tables is the first step to creating a healthy feeding and breeding ground for birds.

  • Fill a hot bucket with soapy water and wearing gloves, empty any food from your feeders and scrub it clean with a brush.
  • Thoroughly rinse it and let the feeder stand to dry completely.
  • Finally, spray it with some vetinary disinfectant.

It’s also good to move feeders, tables and baths around your garden from time to time. This will hinder any diseases, providing a clean place for your birds to thrive.

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