|Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, and a Downy Woodpecker|
I've written about some of the potential problems before:
And on Monday, Carol Off from CBC's As It Happens interviewed researcher Dana Hawley from Virginia Polytechnic about how bird feeders can spread conjunctivitis to House Finches.
|Bird baths attract House Finches|
Listen to the interview and/or read the article here. The highlights:
- House Finches (an introduced species) use bird feeders a lot
- When an infected finch rubs its itchy eye on the port of a feeder, it leaves bacteria there, just waiting for the next finch to pick it up
- In this study the finch population dropped by 50% over the winter due to conjunctivitis
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
If you're going to feed the birds, SANITIZE your feeders regularly. A solution of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach will do the trick. Be sure to rinse well.