Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Young Finches

We always enjoy watching the House Finches that visit our yards. We currently have rather more than usual because several of the adult pairs now have fledglings with them. 

Most of the fledglings have worked out that the sunflower seeds in our feeders are the things to go for. However, a few are still having problems working out what is food and what isn't. So yesterday a couple of them seemed to be determined to eat our bamboo fence.

Unfortunately, one of the young birds has developed avian pox, a disease that causes wart-like growths near the eyes. This bird had such growths on both sides of its head.

Avian pox isn't directly life-threatening but it can cause death by restricting the birds' range of vision and so making them less aware of predators. I'm afraid that was probably the case with this particular bird, because I last saw it being carried off in the mouth of a neighbor's cat.

The pox is common among House Finches, mainly because they tend to move and feed in fairly dense flocks and so to pass the disease to each other. I will move our feeders further apart to see if that helps to avoid more birds becoming infected. It will probably help, too, if I clean our feeders more frequently, using a 10% bleach solution.

1 comment:

Kah-Wai Lin said...

Nice capture!