The Good Days & the bad :(

It's been such a miserable, sad day today so it's taken me a while to work up enthusiasm to put up pics from a trip to Deeside yesterday (which I will do at some stage) and also a few of the garden birds which I may post later but may be tomorrow;  

We have had a sick female Chaffinch in the garden for a few days who appeared to have the dreaded Trichomonas disease plus leg problems and it has taken me since Thursday to be able to catch her and separate her from the other garden birds, hence I haven't had any feeders of any sort out since I saw her and also for a period of time following a female Siskin which appeared to have the disease three weeks ago.     The only time I could put food out was if I was sitting outside close by and watching to ensure the Chaffinch was able to be captured and that no other bird would be picking up food she regurgitated in case it contained the Trich. parasite.    The two main feeding stations were dismantled a few days ago and stored away.  

 Can't tell you how many hours it has taken with large pond net in hand, angled down ready for the chaffinch to step close enough before I finally succeeded today and thus had the awful task of taking her to be euthanised.     She was clearly sick with fluffed up appearance, difficulty swallowing, food stuck to the beak and regurgitating food followed by frequent trips to the pond to drink,   but it' amazing how much energy she still had.   

  I had to take her to two vets in the end as the first place we visited told us the Vet was out, not due back for a while and the 2nd Vet was also out when we got there so we waited 25 mins for his return;  it was so hot inside the surgery that we decided to take the bird (in it's plastic box with air-holes and some soft sheeting as a base)  outside and sit in our car with her whilst we waited for the Vet to turn up.   I took the plastic cap of a small bottle of spring water and poured a thimble full in so she could drink - which she did four times and gave her a tiny berry suet pellet which she managed to eat slowly.     It was such an emotional wait with her and although I knew we were doing the right thing, it is never easy to carry out these final moments.    The Vet was kind asking me into the consulting room with the bird, listening to the reason I was asking for her to be euthanised and as he inspected her gently he saw she also had scaly leg mite problems;    he took her into another room whilst I waited;  I had asked for her back as the BTO will more than likely carry out a PM on her to ascertain the precise disease and I promised to forward the report to the Vet as he also wanted to see the findings on her.    

It's not easy to put photos up of her knowing we had to have her put to sleep so she did not suffer a long period before she would eventually starve to death due to the parasites blocking the passage in the throat and her being unable to swallow.  

   I think it is important for the folk who don't know what Trichomonas symptoms look like to see what the signs are with the fluffed up appearance, bits of food stuck to beak, difficulty swallowing, regurgitating food and drinking water frequently,  they may have damp head feathers too     etc.,     



Regards, Hazel 

"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Aw bless poor little Chaffie, but you did the right thing Hazel, she would have just suffered. Well done.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Oh Hazel, What an awful day you have had.  It is so depressing to see birds suffering, isn't it?  You did your best for that poor little Chaffie.  Better luck for the future, and I hope you are spared seeing any more of your birds with that awful illness.  We have been fairly lucky so far, only having seen it a couple of times over the years in our garden, but we are forever cleaning and swapping feeders, though of course that will not prevent the birds from picking it up from feeding on the ground or elsewhere or just unluckily picking it up from a branch somewhere.

    Kind regards, 


  • In reply to Gardenbirder:

    O'h Hazy what a horrid thing to have to do, but well done you in going to all the effort to catch the little bird and horrible though it would have been at least you know now that it isn't suffering any more and no other bird will be able to catch the disease from it disgorging up contaminated seed.   I know how meticulous you will be with cleaning your feeders it just doesn't seem fair that you have had to deal with all that.  Hopefully this post will help others who may have seen birds suffering tricho and will know that they need to be taken away from the garden so as not to spread the disease.

    Lot to learn

  • In reply to Gardenbirder:

    Hazy, I do feel for you.  I have seen one or two birds with this disease in various places and it's awful to see the poor bird doing their best and suffering a slow death, so you most definitely did the right thing looking after her carefully and much better to have her put down than for her to suffer a long, slow death.  

    I felt really upset the other day when I came home from work to find

    a dead Blackbird on the lawn which had obviously been mauled to death by a cat.  I know cats can't help their instincts, but it did make me think what a hard time the Sparrowhawk is given by some, but at least they only kill to eat and not for sport.

    It's not an easy life being a bird is it?  So many dangers out there, but to end on a positive note, I went out with ringing at the weekend and we had a Blue Tit in the net that had been ringed as an

    adult bird in February 2009 making it around eight years old.  How amazing for such a small bird to have lived for so long!

    Hope you are feeling more cheerful in the morning.  Just concentrate on how much good you are doing for so many of the birds in your garden.

    See my Flickr photos here


  • In reply to ChristineB:

    At least it died in a caring environment and not in too much pain or distress. Let's hope that your other birds have not contracted the disease.

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)


  • In reply to monkeycheese:

    Thinking of you aitch, you did good by that poor little bird!


     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • In reply to WendyBartter:

    Oh dear, what an awful day for you, Hazel. It's so distressing to see a creature suffer so you did the right thing but it must have been emotionally draining.

    I wonder why finches are so susceptible to Trichomonosis and scaly mite problems. Lets hope that by doing a PM the BTO will advance our knowledge of these diseases.

    I think I've been fairly lucky down here as I haven't seen much evidence of either of these conditions on the birds coming to my feeders.



    My Flickr Photostream 

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    thanks all for your kind words,  it's never easy dealing with sick birds or seeing them suffering in the garden and despite all efforts to keep a very clean feeding area and feeders we have seen three birds with Trichomonas over the last few months so I am continuing to withdraw all food except for a few mealworms and tray of suet/kibbles/hearts which are only out for an hour if I am there to monitor it all the time and no food is on the ground at all.       Nothing went right at all yesterday, got home, the internet was off and a wood mouse was in the house and when I tried submitting the BTO report once we regained a connection it took three attempts to do as no photos were not able to be uploaded with the report so I sent the 4th attempt in without pics.    

     It didn't stop there as this morning I had a letter to say carcasses could not be accepted at the moment because of postal issues but they would still like the bird next week for PM and asked if I could take it to the vet so he could place it in the freezer till I could send it ........... which I have done this morning.     What a saga but then again, most of us would do it again for the birds.      Needless to say, I left a bottle of wine and thank you note with the Vet (who was out this morning) for his kindness and the staff who are wonderfully friendly.    

    @ Christine,  I'm so sorry you came home to such a terribly sad sight, as you say, birds of prey kill for food so as much as I don't like to see birds taken, it is natures way.     Hope you are having a better day,  at least the sunshine has come out to play so after cleaning my kitchen floor I may just go out to sit with the birdies for a while.


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    That was such a great effort on your part Hazel, you certainly tried your best to help the little one.

  • In reply to Richard B:

    Many thanks Richard, guess all we can do is what we consider to be the best option in the birds interest although it's tough at times to carry out.


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"