This little Dark Eyed Junco died at my feet in the garden this winter.
It was so sad to watch and at first I thought it may have been injured by a predator but after closer inspection I found these strange tumor-like growths and some lesions on its head.
Fearing for other feathered guest’s well being I immediately scooped up the bird and froze it in case the vet needed it for samples and sent in digital images to our local Audubon for more information on what if anything I needed to do to be sure other birds don’t become infected if its contagious.
The word back from the folks at Audubon is that it seems my little bird died of Avian pox and yes it is contagious. Feeding stations like we have at our homes are places other birds could become easily infected so I was instructed to take down all of my feeders, wash them in warm soapy water and soak them in a 10% bleach/water solution and let them air dry. Also recommended was to do a thorough clean up of the area beneath the feeders.
That was a hard thing to do knowing they would be down for three whole weeks but having healthier flocks is worth it. We all love to feed the birds and it is very important to keep the feeders cleaned and filled with fresh seed. I was pretty good at keeping up but this experience really drove home how important it is and made me realize even I need to do a better job. So have how are you doing with bird feeder maintenance at your house?