Wednesday, 18 May 2016


I got quite excited about seeing a male Bullfinch in the garden, partly because they are one of my favourite birds, partly because they are really scarce visitors in Whitestaunton and partly because the few others I've seen have all been females or juvenile birds. This one was sitting on the patio and appeared to be pecking something off the stonework. A few photos later and I soon realised that it didn't look right, something was obviously exuding around its mouth and Trichomonosis came to mind. It's a condition that's been around since 2006 and I have seen it in Greenfinches and Chaffinches before. The cause is a parasite Trichomonas gallinae which causes feeding difficulty and eventually starvation occurs. There's lots of info out there on the web including this page from the BTO website. Shame to see such a beautiful bird with this terrible condition.

To help prevent it from spreading you have to regularly clean and sterilise your bird feeders and surfaces where food is placed as well as any drinking/bathing source - something we do religiously here and will do again now. I went outside to get a closer look and although it appeared quite bright, I managed to walk within just a few feet of it before it even realised I was standing there.

Bullfinch, male: R. Harris
The camera wouldn't focus any closer. The discharge
around the bill can be clearly seen.

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