Friday 15 September 2006
Scientists from the Garden Bird Health initiative, co-ordinated by ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, have found an unusual increase in the number of finch fatalities reported to the project over the last two months.
Scientists from the Garden Bird Health initiative, co-ordinated by ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, have found an unusual increase in the number of finch fatalities reported to the project over the last two months. Post mortem investigation has identified a parasitic infection, called trichomoniasis, as the cause of death.
The Garden Bird Health initiative includes a collaborative research project that involves the Institute of Zoology, Scottish Agricultural College, Liverpool University, Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre, British Trust for Ornithology, RSPB and UFAW. The project has recorded a dramatic increase in finch mortality in the last two months. The species most commonly affected are the greenfinch and chaffinch, although the house sparrow and other finch species are also susceptible, and reports have come from across Britain.
Becki Lawson, a wildlife veterinarian from the Institute of Zoology, is the coordinator of the project and emphasised the need to investigate the epidemic. “The dramatic increase in the number of garden bird mortality incidents reported by members of the public is deeply concerning,” she commented. “It is essential that further research is now undertaken so that we can gain a better understanding of the reasons for the disease emergence, and to assess the parasite’s impact on our bird populations.”
Further information about the outbreak and best feeding practice can be found on the UFAW website.
Photo Copyright: Jill Pakenham/BTO