Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Greenfinch......

......and, as I have no pics of this species an excellent image of two Spotted Redshanks on the Eric Morecambe complex at Leighton Moss......Thanks Ian.

A friend who lives on the outskirt of Lancaster was on the phone to me recently and went on to tell me of the disappearance of the Greenfinch from around his house, he went on to say he once counted them coming in to roost as they did every evening, apparently taking full advantage of the many Leylandii both in his own garden and surrounding neighbours too. I briefly explained the decrease in numbers of some 'finch's' in particular the Greenfinch and House Sparrow which has been ascribed to a disease known as Trichomonad.

The disease was formerly known from Pigeons and Doves but since the summer of 2005 this parasite has been reported in 'finch' species in gardens and every year outbreaks are seen in late summer and autumn. The poor victims of this parasite eventually die of starvation due to the fact that the upper digestive tract of the bird is progressively blocked by this parasite which lives there and renders the bird unable to swallow thus its death is brought about through starvation.

This parasite cannot live for long periods outside the host and is vulnerable to 'drying out', the transmission of the disease takes place during the breeding season when birds are feeding one another with regurgitated food, other methods of transmission include drinking water which has been contaminated by saliva or bird droppings.

But I posed another question to to my friend in his conversation with me on the telephone......has the disappearance of what was 50+ Greenfinches coming in daily to roost in and around his and his neighbours gardens been down to the fact that most of the Leylandii have been taken out since last winter and has this been the factor to take into account in this particular area, or does the demise of the Greenfinch at this particular location remain firmly at the hands of the Trichomonad parasite.

Spotted Redshanks courtesy of Ian Tallon.


Alan Tilmouth said...

I think there has been a rapid decline this year particularly. I mentioned this in a post recently and there was anecdotal agreement from some areas.

Pete Woodruff said...

I have a tendency to lean towards the demise of the Greenfinch in my friends area as being related to the Trichomonad mentioned in the post as opposed to the removal of the Leylandii. I've been seeing about twelve birds recently at Cockersands in our area which as far as I'm concerned is becoming a major sighting these days and I peronally see them little anywhere else.

Many thanks for looking in and comments Alan, much appreciated.

Warren Baker said...

The Greenfinch in my garden have gone from flocks of 70-80, down to a dozen at best. The sparrowhawk used to take 2 a day, so that didn't help! ( thats 60 a month!) I have seen the odd sick greenfinch in the garden, but not many, I usually despatch them, when they become weak enough to catch.

Pete Woodruff said...

Sad story Warren of which there a several in relation to bird fatalities, natural and unnatural including 'fishermen' who are 'killing' thousands of seabirds by the day most of which is caused by illegal fishing, but look I'm heading to controversy again.....whoooops!