Lost from my garden

by Martin

I’m missing them. It’s not hard to recall my first on the plastic red peanut feeder in our garden in Frodsham, Cheshire- way back. An adult male, in resplendent green and yellow attire. Another bird ‘wonder’ for a fledgling observer. I watched it over and over again.

Looking through the hide windows at the Jerusalem bird Observatory  and distracted by the likes of Smyrna Kingfisher, Palestine Sunbird and very obliging Hawfinches, Tristan R commented on a Greenfinch – looking a bit different  He was right and I was slow to notice. A smart male with bit more grey above and bit yellower below than our standard British birds. The face suggests Citril Finch and it has a pretty heavy bill… presumably of the taxon chlorotica?

Greenfinch JBO 2 19.11.12

Greenfinch JBO 1 19.11.12male Greenfinch, presumed ssp. chlorotica. Jerusalem Bird Observatory, 19th Nov. 2012

Population decline and Trichomoniasis

Looking through my photos reminded me of my first encounter and wishing there were more in the garden. You may well know already, the British (and Irish) Greenfinch population has been slammed by a disease called trichomonosis. More on that here and here.

Busy reviewing ‘Bird through Irish Eyes’  I cheekily wondered if the Greenfinch chapter had anything on the subject. I wasn’t disappointed, finding a particularly pithy and illuminating commentary on the situation:

” In the past, Greenfinches assembled at stackyards and threshing places during hard weather. Nowadays many birds rely on garden feeders to get them through the winter. Becoming a feeder junkie can have a high cost. The protozoan Trichomonas gallinae thrives in water and moist environments and causes a yellow canker, blocking the throat. The affliction known as Trichomoniasis, means the victim starves to death. Listlessness and unnatural tameness are symptoms. Many Greenfinches (up to 35% in some areas) have succumbed, infected from water in birdbaths and drinking troughs. The disease can be kept at bay by removing mouldy seed and cleaning feeders and drinking receptacles with a 10% solution of bleach”

more on this (remarkable) book to come.


About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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One Response to Greenfinch

  1. Martin

    Last year I had 90+ coming to my feeders in Brixham, Devon. They began developing this disease and were being picked off by Magpies, I felt guilty that my feeding may have caused this. I was giving them black sunflower, in an attempt to stop the spread i just got rid of the water feeders and fed them by throwing the Black Sunflower on the grass. This year I have just 2 birds coming. Sign of the times? A great shame whatever….

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