Deadly bird disease found in village


Birds suffering from a deadly disease, that has caused a 60 per cent drop in the population of some species, have been found in Thorney.

Local birdwatcher Eric Rayner has found a number of greenfinches suffering from the disease in his garden and is urging people in the village to stop using birdfeeders until the end of the month.

“The disease, called trichomonosis, is caused by a parasite and June to September are the peak months for transmission,” he said.

“It affects greenfinches and chaffinches most commonly, but also many other species of garden bird.

“It is spread by birds on garden feeders. It has been in the UK for more than a decade and has reduced the population of greenfinches by over 60 per cent. This is the first time I’ve seen any evidence of it in Thorney.”

Because the disease is spread when birds flock to garden feeders, advice from the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) is to stop feeding for two to four weeks when any signs of the disease are present. This causes flocks to disperse and minimises the risk of spreading the parasite.

The BTO also says you should remove water as well as food. When you re-establish feeding, it is a good idea to move feeders around to prevent a build-up of discarded food below the feeder; change water daily and clean feeders at least once a week.

“It is easy to miss a dead or sick bird in the garden,” said Eric. “But if the disease is present in my garden, the chances are it will be present throughout the village.

“Many people enjoy feeding birds and it’s great to see them in the garden, but for their own good please stop feeding until the end of the month.”

Trichomonosis cannot be passed to humans or other mammals such as dogs and cats.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *