Garden finch numbers decline

Posted on: 20 August 2010 by Editor at Large

The number of greenfinches and chaffinches in UK gardens has declined severely in the past five years after a disease outbreak five years ago.

Finch numbers in declineAccording to The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), the parasite trichomonas gallinae has resulted in a decline in numbers of aroud 35 per cent in some areas.

These findings come as a result of the BTO's Garden Bird Health Initiative, a year-round project that gathers information on how different species of birds use gardens and how this use changes over time.

Dr Rob Robinson, a Principal Ecologist at the (BTO) said: “These findings demonstrate that virulent infectious diseases can cause sharp population declines in common wild birds in just a short period of time”.

The disease is most likely spread through birds feeding one another with regurgitated food during the breeding season; or through food or drinking water contaminated with saliva.

Trichomonosis outbreaks are most severe and frequent in the period of August to October. Sick birds have a tendency to stay close to feeders and water sources, and often die there.

Click here to go to the BTO's Garden Bird Health Initiative website.

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