Green with Envy
Greenfinches (Carduelis choris) according to most of my bird books are supposed to be abundant in number. However, over the last decade or more, their numbers have been hit hard since the outbreak of trichomonosis. Greenfinches it appears were particularly susceptible to the protozoan parasite. Tricomonosis gallinae is like an amoeba type organism that is found in dirty bird feeders. It is like the wet and damp and when birds visit the feeders they get infected with it. The parasite causes disease in the bird's throat and guts. They often look unwell, fluffed up even in warm weather and tired.
Things don't end well for infected birds and before they die they often regurgitate food onto feeders which in turn spreads the parasite more to other birds. Tricomonosis affects other bird species as well such as House Sparrows, Siskin, Great Tits and Dunnocks ( reference 1). The disease was well-publicized and emphasized the need for garden bird feeders to be cleaned regularly (using warm water with washing up liquid in it and then left to dry out regularly as the parasite does not like dry conditions).
Of all the species of birds impacted it seems Greenfinches were hit hard and in many areas have disappeared from gardens altogether. I used to get Greenfinches in my garden and then they vanished. I like my finches and have been envious of some people pictures of Greenfinches that I have seen occasionally online. The only pictures I have had of these wonderful birds have been at a distance on top of a tree.
So when my friend Ian Howells invited me to his amazing Woodland Bird Hide - where he happens to get "Greenfinches" to his feeders I bit his hand off at the offer. ( Check out Ian's Facebook page here - he takes amazing pics).
Ian is well known for the Tawny Owls he has attracted which I have photographed on several occasions and they are truly amazing. He does nothing by halves and puts loads of effort in so that anyone who visits gets the best pictures possible.
His Woodland Hide set up is great with a wide variety of bird species visiting. All the usual garden birds turn up including Blue, Coal, Great and Long Tailed Tits, Robins, Dunnocks, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, House Sparrows, and Starlings. He also occasionally gets Buzzards and the odd Sparrowhawk if you are lucky.
Oh, I nearly forgot the one species I was excited about - the Greenfinches :)
So on Saturday, I was Green with envy no longer. In came a small flock of about five Greenfinches. Both males and females were present. They regularly visited the feeders and all looked very healthy.
We managed to get some great photos of them as they competed with the Goldfinches and numerous House Sparrows for a position on the feeders.
I had an absolutely fabulous time of it and got pictures that I will treasure forever.
Big Thank You to Ian.
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