Remember to wash your bird feeders

Hi

Just a reminder to wash your bird feeders before putting them out. They can harbour bacteria, that can be lethal. According to the BTO the finch population has declined by 95% since 1995. One contribution to this is a disease called, 'trichomonosis' which is a microscopic parasite. It's more active in the autumn, and is a slow death for the bird, they struggle to swallow food and drink.

If you wish to know more, please contact the British Trust for Ornithology.

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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 14,409

    We have that disease here and it is tragic. Mostly chaffinches, greenfinches and bullfinches. We had a lovely crop of young ones this summer but, one by one, they have fallen prey to it. First they sit around looking gormless, then you see them gagging on food and shaking their heads trying to spit it out. Next they begin to act bizarrely - sitting on lily pads in the pond, wandering up to cats as if begging them to do the deed etc. Finally they keel over, blood coming from their rear ends. Horrible. 

    We have tried removing all the feeders for a few weeks but of course they just go elsewhere and use other people's feeders. We hang trays under the feeders and wash and disinfect them every day. We have taken the bird bath away and substituted a plastic dish which we wash every day. We still have dying birds.

    The other disease which affects chaffinches and which is common here is a sort of foot rot. It begins with the birds' legs going white, then the feet look as if they are caked with cement and finally the toes drop off leaving the birds with stumps and unable to perch and find food.

    All very depressing but we cannot find a way to break the cycle.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 5,115

    It would be good if bird feeders were easier to clean.  My squirrel-proof seed feeder is well made, but to take it to bits you need an appropriate sized screwdriver, and then 3 hands (actually I borrow one of OH's!) to reassemble it, or the fiddly little nut falls out before you can get the bolt back in.

    I gave my son a feeder held together with magnets, which is much easier to clean.  Expensive though, and not squirrel-proof.

    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Hi pansyface, Have you contacted RSPB or BTO for advice?

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 14,409

    Read their websites for information but havn't contacted anyone directly, no.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    I try to clean the feeders every 6 weeks or so, but it is a pretty vile job and they are fiddly to take apart.

    I like the idea of a magnetic one Liriodendron, what make is it?image

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 5,115

    Sorry Artjak, can't remember - but it came from my local GC so I'll check next time I'm in.

    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 14,409
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 5,115

    Thanks Pansyface.  Identical, I think - the GC sells lots of Gardman products so that would figure.

    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Hello, I wonder if simple bird feeders can go in the dishwasher? Mine is just plastic coated wire. 

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 14,409

    All that bird poo - not something I'd fancy.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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