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Elk Grove, CA, USA
A young finch appears sick. It was all ruffled up and fluffy and did not spook from feeders until I was almost touching it. It was harassed and often alone. Some pictures I took had both eyes open with no appearance of disease but others looked like it had a problem.
It probably is sick. Take down your feeders for a few days and clean them thoroughly.
Obviously. I’ll say what most won’t. Please tell us more. What this finch possibly has, all of the signs and symptoms to watch for, ways it’s spread, etc etc etc. Is there a specific species (Dove) we shouldn’t allow at our feeders? Is the seed we buy & feed these precious birds safe for them to eat when our own food as humans isn’t? We need more on this site than validation of a “sick” bird and the obvious clean your feeders. Are we not here to actually help these beautiful sweet birds survive? Thank you.
Hello Leslie, thank you for reaching out! Only veterinarians or federally licensed wildlife rehabilitators can legally treat wild birds. If you see a bird that appears to be compromised in some way, perhaps due to sickness or injury, do not try to care for the bird yourself. It is illegal for you to possess most wild birds unless you are under the direction of someone licensed for their care. While not ideal, diseases in birds are quite common. Whenever a sick bird comes to your feeder, we recommend that you remove the feeders the sick bird is using for a couple of weeks to ensure that disease is not being spread at your feeders and to give birds a chance to disperse. While the feeders are down clean your feeders and feeder area thoroughly. Please feel free to visit our page on Sick Birds and Bird Diseases for more info.
Honestly, it’s difficult to answer most of your questions since there are so many possible illnesses it could be and so many ways it could have spread. Also, other than taking a bird to a rehabilitator, there isn’t much other you can do than take down your feeders and clean them.
There is one disease that it might have, it could have salmonellosis. It is spread through saliva and droppings and spreads best in a big group/flock of birds such as at a feeder. The symptoms are a bird puffing out its feathers, acting lethargic, and allowing you to approach it without it flying away, which fits the description you gave. It is sadly often fatal. Just one thing though, I am in no way an expert so I could very easily be wrong.
I hope this helped.
The thing is, even if we knew the exact disease it has, that isn’t going to help you. You can’t treat the bird yourself unless you have the proper permits or are instructed by someone who does. Also, some people don’t know to clean their feeders and take them down for a week or two and I wasn’t sure if you did or not, so I was just telling you in case you didn’t know to.
Last thing, other than hawks, I’m not sure that excluding any other other birds like doves would make a difference.
Have a good day,
I allow all birds at my feeders.
I’m not sure what you mean but I do agree that we should allow all birds at the feeder. Birds with finch eye disease never live long and will normally die. The sick bird would make other birds sick even if you take your feeders down.
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