However, this has given time to do a very important job. I took all the bird feeders down and gave them a thorough clean.
I try to do this once a month, though really it should be done fortnightly. Obviously it’s good housekeeping anyway, but it’s more important than ever with trichomonosis (also called trichomoniasis) causing such problems for garden birds.
This is a disease caused by a parasite, Trichomonas gallinae. In the UK it has been strongly linked to significant drops in the Greenfinch population, but it can affect a wide variety of birds (the species name, gallinae, pertains to chickens).
Among the mechanisms the disease can spread is food and water, so it’s important to keep feeders and bird baths clean to minimise the risk of the disease spreading.
I dismantle then soak all the feeders in soapy boiling water first. I then use a disinfectant such as Citrosan to further clean the feeders. Then they get rinsed in clean water, then allowed to air dry.
To-date we have not seen any infected birds, so at this stage it’s precautionary. But if you are watching finches at the feeder, and any have closed-up eyes, ragged or wet looking feathers around the beak, or any other odd features, they could be infected. If you do happen to spot any diseased birds at your feeder, it’s best to take all feeders down and allow at least 14 days before resuming feeding again.