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MN Shutterbug

What is she feeding her birds?

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The 1st photo isn't showing up but the other two both appear to be house finches. Birds in the photos I can see both have beaks too heavy to be siskins. House finches and some other species including goldfinches can develop an eye problem caused by I believe a bacteria. It can be spread by non-sanitized feeders. Here's a good link about it and other issues surrounding feeding the birds:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/FAQsBirdFeeding.htm

and more specifically

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/DiseasedBirds.htm

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No thanks necessary, actually my apology. After re-reading it, hope my reply didn't seem too blunt. Was in a hurry to battle the dreaded commute home from Bugtusssle. Now the corn is gone 1/2 mile from home almost hit a deer! After finishing the barn cleaning this weekend, time to santize our own bird feeders again as birdsong did. Haven't seen any problems but don't want any either. Very nice pics BTW illustrating the eye problem.

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Unfortunately, I think that may be the third one with conjunctivitis. Not good news x-t. I don't know how to keep up. I bleached the bird bath on Thursday, and not an hour later, a diseased finch was taking a bath in the clean water. Do you think, Dotch, that I need to bring all the feeders in for a week or so to let the birds disperse? AAARGH! Just when I can actually enjoy watching the little critters. I have a friend that feeds also, and it is starting at her house, as well. Neither of us have had this disease for a few years, but it got pretty bad a few years ago. That seemed to be a banner year for finch populations, as well. I have a flock of 30-40. Unfortunately, they tend to come to the feeders and stay for long periods of time, unlike our native species who hit the feeder and run. I think they expose each other by their compact, extended feeding habits. Any helpful advice out there?

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It may not be the feeders anymore, Birdsong. Seed that falls to the ground decomposes and the bacteria can build up there, too.

If there's no snow down where you are, I'd rake the area very thoroughly and haul away the junk. Otherwise, if there is snow, by keeping your feeders clean and allowing more snow to fall, you'll likely cover any ground bacteria with snow. Then in spring you can give it a thorough raking and haul-off.

I've known avid feeders of birds who have poured concrete slabs under their feeding stations to avoid the problem, and have seen one who cut an area out of the lawn, trimmed it in landscape timbers and brought in clay/gravel and packed it hard like a gravel driveway to make cleaning up easier.

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Thanks for the suggestion--the job is done. I pull my feeders all over the brick patio for the winter so I can just sweep up when there is no snow cover. Then I spent some time building the guys a shelter/brush pile covered with evergreen for snow storms. Isn't that what everybody does with their Christmas boughs?

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I concur. I'd personally have a hard time pulling all the feeders here based on what's known about the disease. Weather is supposed to cool down and snow so that won't hurt. Luckily where we live in the country we're fairly isolated from anyone who regularly feeds the birds by quite a distance. Making brush piles for the birds? Now that sounds like work! I have several I would've gladly donated! grin

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