Dave Currie, president of the Nova Scotia Bird Society, was on ctv news last evening talking about avian parasite trichomoniasis and how we should remove backyard bird feeders to help prevent spread of the disease. Is anyone seeing sick birds at the feeders? In particular the finches.

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In my opinion, unless we have sick birds in our yards there is no need to take down our feeders. Nelson commented in the Moncton line today on the subject. As he stated, removing sick birds is a better course of action rather than removing feeders. I'm in agreement.

Hi Karen;  That's the exact stance that I am taking.  If I see sick birds, I will take mine down.  I hope and pray that I don't see any.  I love watching all the different birds that come to our yard.

question; if you had children in a school and the school had reports that the water in the school might infect the child with a disease, do you just wait it out or do you change the water?   If we decide to interact with the wild around us, we have to be respectful of the relationship  with the ecosystem within our backyards.  Just as we wouldn't play a recording over and over to draw out a bird from it's nest, or approach a nesting owl, if there is a chance that feeders in summer months might infect species of birds, then do we not have a responsibility to remove what might be the cause?

Yes, I had one male purple finch last week that showed the symptoms they mentioned.  It was only seen on the one day.  I have taken down and washed my feeders in bleach; but they are back up for the time being.

This was an interesting observation at the end of a paper by the British Trust for Ornithology:

"You may wish to consider stopping feeding if you have an outbreak of the disease at your feeding station, in an attempt to force the birds to feed elsewhere at a lower density (although in reality they may end up visiting another feeding station and possibly one where no hygiene measures are in place)."


part of the difficulting with waiting to see if you have an infected bird is that we don't watch our feeders every minute of the day.  But I guess it comes down to the fact of why do you feed the birds.

My first move would be to empty/clean the feeder visited by a sick bird, then replace it. If I note further affected birds, my feeders would come down, be cleaned well and replaced with a small amount of seed after a few days. I would keep a continued watch on the situation, Have no idea how to go about 'removing a sick bird'.

Thanks, Helen.  Although scary, your post was a very good reminder.

Because I haven't seen any sick birds at my feeders ,I think I too will leave them up.

I scrubbed and javexed and dried and moved to a new location (just in case)

My bird bath is a very old concrete one and although I scub it with a brush whenever I fill it,there is no way to know for sure if has been disinfected so I took it down and will replace it with something easier to clean.

This disease and some others occur yearly. I have only seen 2 ill birds over 35 + years.

Really, feeding birds in the summer months ups the chance of disease, there is a huge source of food out there for them in the summer months, bugs, seeds, bone marrow, french fries....

What's more important; the health of the birds or viewing the birds?

I feed birds all year around and have seen only 2 ill birds in over 35 + years..... not every illness is related to the one mentioned in the Moncton Nature Line.

Feeding year round develops 'feeder loyalty'.


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