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When helping can be harming.

September 23, 2015

I was going through my photos of the birds at our feeder.  This photo caught my eye.  “What was wrong with the eye of this House Finch?”

DSC08615The eye was red.  Looking on the Internet, I discovered it is a common eye disease but the bird will eventually go blind and die because it can’t find food.  I called our local store where we got our bird feeders. What I learned was that the cylinder bird feeders where the birds stick their heads the holes to eat is one of the worst offenders for spreading the disease.  The people in the store told us to use a 10% bleach solution to clean the feeders and let them dry and then fill them again.  We have been watching and if more infected birds come, we are to keep disinfecting our feeders.  Our finch feeder just lets the beak in and the one pictured has space and the other is a suet feeder.  We cleaned them all and then cleaned up where the seeds fall below the deck.  We were not vigilant about cleaning up the seeds that fell because the mourning doves and turkeys are among those ground feeders that come and eat.

One thinks they are doing good by feeding the birds.  We also have hummingbird feeders and at this time of year when they are migrating, it is helpful for them to get their energy from the feeders.  Actually they eat insects!  Who knew?  We have many birds books and have been learning about birds all along but these past days I have learned more than I really wanted to.  I had hoped the little bird I saw on our feeder with the eye disease might heal but by all accounts it won’t.

We have been looking more closely at the birds.  We have been sitting on the deck.  We have been scolded by the birds for being there.  In the process I have learned that hummingbirds sort of chirp in anger and are aggressive with each other.  It has been eye opening to get to know the birds better.  I have been trying to pass the word along for people to get feeders that won’t spread disease.  I was told we were the first to call in and find it this season.  It can spread like wildfire if the  wrong feeders are up and/or not cleaned.  Keep helping your feathered friends.  Help keep them save as well as well fed.


From → helping birds

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