Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 23

Thread: a bird feeder hobby, and the problem of infected finches

  1. Top | #11
    Veteran Member Valjean's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,312
    Archived
    3,176
    Total Posts
    4,488
    Rep Power
    42
    Why do you think the infection is connected to your feeder?
    If you want to do something about it maybe you should trap one of the infected birds, take it to a vet and diagnose the problem. Hard to solve a mystery problem.

  2. Top | #12
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,834
    Archived
    3,946
    Total Posts
    5,780
    Rep Power
    66
    Quote Originally Posted by Valjean View Post
    Why do you think the infection is connected to your feeder?
    If you want to do something about it maybe you should trap one of the infected birds, take it to a vet and diagnose the problem. Hard to solve a mystery problem.
    It's Mycoplasma gallisepticum also known as House Finch Eye Disease.

    It can spread from animal to animal and more frequently at places where they crowd - like at bird feeders. The bird's eyes are very sore, so they will rub them on branches and feeders. In feeders with deep ports, their infected eyes can touch the port. Then along comes a healthy bird and possibly picks up the germs.

    The only mystery I wanted to solve was what I should do personally about my situation. The advice on the Net is piecemeal and contradictory. But the input here helped me sort what I'm going to do.

  3. Top | #13
    Formerly Joedad
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    PA USA
    Posts
    7,097
    Archived
    5,039
    Total Posts
    12,136
    Rep Power
    82
    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Valjean View Post
    Why do you think the infection is connected to your feeder?
    If you want to do something about it maybe you should trap one of the infected birds, take it to a vet and diagnose the problem. Hard to solve a mystery problem.
    It's Mycoplasma gallisepticum also known as House Finch Eye Disease.

    It can spread from animal to animal and more frequently at places where they crowd - like at bird feeders. The bird's eyes are very sore, so they will rub them on branches and feeders. In feeders with deep ports, their infected eyes can touch the port. Then along comes a healthy bird and possibly picks up the germs.

    The only mystery I wanted to solve was what I should do personally about my situation. The advice on the Net is piecemeal and contradictory. But the input here helped me sort what I'm going to do.
    I noticed my first case. When the weather is bad the birds shelter on the window ledges so I get a good close look at them. There was one case and the bird kept rubbing the infected eye on the window ledge. Their behavior when feeding is to strike their beaks and faces on branches to clean after feeding on seed. This also likely passes along the disease and they do this in the trees beside the feeder. Not much I can do about that.

    My plan is to remove the tube feeder and only use the four platform feeders. I really don't think my tube feeder is a problem as the openings are large but all those little feathery heads going after seeds through the same openings can't be good. I get a good look at other species as they feed in a pear tree close to the window and have seen no other infections, only the one house finch.

  4. Top | #14
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,834
    Archived
    3,946
    Total Posts
    5,780
    Rep Power
    66
    I get the impression from a few different sources that the larger holes are the biggest problem with some feeders.

    This person presents the argument visually:




    There's differing general advice out there, but IMV this seemed the most sensible set of ideas listed in one place:

    - Clean your feeders at least every month with a diluted bleach solution. Rinse well and allow your feeders to dry completely before rehanging them.
    - Consider purchasing tube feeders that can be completely disassembled and washed in a diluted bleach solution in the kitchen sink or put in the dishwasher.
    - Rake the area underneath your feeder to remove droppings and old, moldy seed.
    - Space your feeders widely to discourage crowding among birds.
    - If you see diseased birds, take feeders down and clean them. Wait a few days before putting feeders back up to encourage sick birds to disperse. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator for help with sick birds.

    I decided to get a platform feeder too. It won't prevent them trying to take shelter, since I have a covered balcony so some of the birds like hanging about on it anyway. But the platform feeder won't present the same opportunity for eye-rubbing, and I can clean it and throw some fresh seed in it more frequently.

  5. Top | #15
    Formerly Joedad
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    PA USA
    Posts
    7,097
    Archived
    5,039
    Total Posts
    12,136
    Rep Power
    82
    Thank-you for the vid. Very informative. I have exactly the type of feeder that is the worst wrt the disease. It's coming down and will stay down for a while. On my next trip to the Audubon Center I hope to find a replacement feeder.

  6. Top | #16
    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    On the wing waiting for a kick.
    Posts
    2,168
    Archived
    2,558
    Total Posts
    4,726
    Rep Power
    59
    What exactly is a house finch? Picture?
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

  7. Top | #17
    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    On the wing waiting for a kick.
    Posts
    2,168
    Archived
    2,558
    Total Posts
    4,726
    Rep Power
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post


    There's differing general advice out there, but IMV this seemed the most sensible set of ideas listed in one place:

    - Clean your feeders at least every month with a diluted bleach solution. Rinse well and allow your feeders to dry completely before rehanging them.
    - Consider purchasing tube feeders that can be completely disassembled and washed in a diluted bleach solution in the kitchen sink or put in the dishwasher.
    - Rake the area underneath your feeder to remove droppings and old, moldy seed.
    - Space your feeders widely to discourage crowding among birds.
    - If you see diseased birds, take feeders down and clean them. Wait a few days before putting feeders back up to encourage sick birds to disperse. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator for help with sick birds.
    Works with chooks too.
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

  8. Top | #18
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,834
    Archived
    3,946
    Total Posts
    5,780
    Rep Power
    66
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. Top | #19
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Georgia, US
    Posts
    4,773
    Archived
    3,862
    Total Posts
    8,635
    Rep Power
    81
    The common name of those finches is red finch. We have a sunflower feeder but it's a tray on top of a pole. We added a raccoon baffle many years ago, after discovering a young raccoon climbing the pole and shaking all of the sunflower seeds to the ground for himself.

    I actually enjoy watching the birds on our many suet feeders. We have attracted somewhere around 20 species of birds to the suet feeders. This year, we even had quite a few blue birds come to the suet feeders for the first time ever. Tit mice, nut hatches, chickadees and a variety of wrens, a very small woodpecker, lots of cardinals, and of course the red finches come and go all day. We've never seen any finches with infected eyes, but I do appreciate the information. I haven't seen any gold finches in several years which does make me wonder what happened to them.

    Thrashers, mockingbirds, crows, doves frequently eat the suet that drops to the ground. I do dislike red winged black birds as they frequently come in huge flocks and eat all of the sunflower seeds before any of the other birds have a chance to eat. Sometimes we're are lucky enough to sight some birds traveling through during migration. They mostly like devouring the berries on a few of the trees in the yard. As a sing of appreciation, the wild birds have planted several beautiful camellias and two gorgeous red maple trees in just the right places. I know where the camellias originally came from as there are a few homes about a mile from us with the same camellias in the front yard. I could do without all the nandina that the birds have planted, but they have given us some decent dogwood trees, so I really can't complain. It amazes me that they put the maple trees in exactly the right place.

    If you love bird watching and feeding your local wild birds, I suggest you put out some suet feeders. That will bring in a lot of different species, especially in the winter and breeding season. We replace some of them in the spring and summer with hummingbird feeders. Having natural sources for the birds to feed and nest in also helps make your property into a little wild bird preserve. And, don't forget to have a birdbath with fresh water in it. The birds not only bathe in it, they will come for a drink when the weather is dry.

  10. Top | #20
    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    On the wing waiting for a kick.
    Posts
    2,168
    Archived
    2,558
    Total Posts
    4,726
    Rep Power
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Rather attractive birds. Does the red signify the male or female?
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •