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Birds Dying (1 Viewer)

Jeff Tweety

New member
United Kingdom
This week I have experienced 2 birds dying with both exhibiting similar behaviour.

A goldfinch and a siskin (a couple days apart) took to sleeping in one of the window feeders. The goldfinch didn't seem to be aware of my presence even when I went up close. I decided to get the cat basket and try to grab and bring it inside as it was getting dark. It didn't resist at all. I put a blanket over the basket. Checked a few hours later and it had died. It was clearly weak as when I placed it in the basket it tipped over forwards but made is way to the other corner at some point and went into sleeping position.

Couple of days later same thing happened with a female siskin except if would fly away (not far) when I tried to catch her although she would let me get very close and not make an effort to fly away. She would keep making her way back to the window feeder and tuck her head in to sleep. Later that day I found a dead female siskin lying behind the car. I can assume it is the same bird as we only had 1 male 2 female siskins coming to the feeders.

And now as I type this I have just gathered another goldfinch which behaved exactly the same as the first one and is currently sleeping in the cat basket in the utility. Doesn't appear weak like the first goldie.

Anything to be worried about or just birds at the end of their natural life?

I have experienced similar behaviour last year with a redpoll and a chaffinch, just a bit concerned with a cluster
Sounds like Finch Disease, all your examples being from that family.......trichomonosis. You need to urgently clean and sanitize your feeders before refilling, as with bird baths. Cleaning should be done regularly.
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Everything is cleaned daily with hot water and I also use VetArk disinfectant a couple of times a week. I also wash down the feeding station. Any uneaten seed in the feeders is left at the bottom of the garden for the collared doves/jackdaws.
Hi Jeff and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators. I was going to say that I couldn't offer any other advice than what Pat gave you... but it seems you're doing everything you can anyway. Do you have a local friendly vet you can ask advice from?

I'm sure you will enjoy it here and I look forward to hearing your news.
Thanks for the advice everyone.

It's a strange one as none of the birds are exhibiting any physical symptoms and look healthy to me, eyes clear etc.

I knew about trichomonosis because we used to feed the birds years ago and we always had lots of greenfinches. We became a cat household over the intervening years, ending up with 5 at one point - they kept turning up stray at the back door, so that curtailed the bird feeding. We just have the one old male cat left who doesn't bother the birds so we started feeding the birds again (during lockdown). What I noticed after a few weeks was the complete lack of greenfinches. I did a bit of googling and learned about this awful disease. It was about 2005/6 when we had stopped feeding the birds although we were very small scale compared to now. I did have a pair of greenfinches appear last spring to my joy. They had 3 fledglings but I haven't seen any of them for a few weeks now.

I just checked on the goldfinch again. He was sleeping head tucked in but popped up when I pulled the blanket back. Put his head straight back under his wing. I might have imagined his/her deep sigh of annoyance at the disruption.

Btw, my name is Ian not Jeff. My forum name is a play on Jeff Tweedy of Wilco fame :)

I live in Co. Fermanagh, N Ireland.

I will update tomorrow morning on the goldie.
Imho people need to humanely dispatch birds that are in this condition. It is great that people are compassionate but there is zero chance of these birds recovering.I would imagine it is an excruciating death as they appear to struggle to breathe/ eat properly. I would definitely disinfect any items at the same time you do your daily washing of equipment.

I would try and find out if other people nearby are seong the same thing as the problem seems quite bad Possibly they need politely educating about hygiene (if they are unaware).
Usually any birds affected will.be visible from a decent distance due to being puffed up. So I would keep an eye open for any birds visiting briefly and nor using the feeders.
Do not think your explanation fit in with this situation but I think the article is worth linking nonetheless-

Sounds like trichomonosis to me, I believe that it is probably transmitted most readily through shared water becoming contaminated.
If this is the case it might be a sensible precaution to remove bird baths or other water put out for birds completely. Your feeder hygiene sounds much better than most, though I agree that it might be better to safely dispose of any uneaten food, rather than put it out elsewhere in the garden. Of course the birds may be getting infected elsewhere and sadly some just end up passing away at your feeding station.
It's distressing to watch them suffer, when our greenfinches and siskins started dying from it we stopped feeding them just in case we were contributing to the spread of the disease.
I checked on the little mite before going to bed and he/she had passed.

This is really distressing especially as they don't exhibit any outward signs of disease or of suffering really. None of the birds were puffed up.

My next door neighbour started feeding last summer, retired man in his mid seventies. He puts out nuts and sunflower hearts. I know from talking to him previously that he just washes the feeders with warm water and fairly liquid - is that adequate? He is aware of trichomonosis as I was telling him about it previously. I will talk with him later today.

I will stop feeding for a couple of weeks, maybe just put out some loose split peanuts for the tits? I don't know if I will go back to feeding to be honest.

Thanks for all the replies and sorry my first interaction is such a downer. I will post any updates.

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