Thursday, 23 August 2007

Juvenile Greenfinches

We have been extremely lucky to have had a warm and sunny week – what a welcome change this has been. It is almost like we are having our summer now! Since watching the birds in my garden I have noticed that they enjoy the sunshine too – many finches choosing to sit on branches appearing to sunbathe.



The greenfinch juvenile, shown in the photos above, allowed me to get really quite close to photograph him earlier this week. I took a number of photos but I particularly like these ones as the showed how beautiful the layers of feathers on a bird actually are. Just before I took these photos I watched it pick insects off the leaves of my Acer tree.

I was concerned though later as I watched it drink water from pond. I was able to see its shape more clearly and wondered if it was possibly suffering from the finch disease trichomoniasis . I have noticed that birds suffering from this disease do seem to be seen drinking a lot too.

Sadly, I have also noticed that greenfinches seem to be the top of the list, in my garden, of birds caught by cats. I am not certain but I do believe it was one of the two greenfinch juveniles a saw leave my garden in the mouth of my neighbours cat the next day. Another I found on the ground and I also found a chaffinch dead on my bird table – I expect it died from fright. I believe my CATWatch unit had been faulty and it has now been replaced – clearly it has been helping to protect the birds. However, I have since wondered that if the birds that I saw the cat go away with did have the disease trichomoniasis - could it harm it? I wonder if any research has been done on that.

6 comments:

A wildlife gardener said...

Hi, shirl! Love the video of the hedgehog in your garden. The story of your progress with its house is interesting too. I have fed them for many years now with cat food and fruit...and they eat the slugs and snails too. They have voracious appetites. I find it amazing how quickly they can move on their small legs. Take your eyes off them for a moment ...and they're gone!

I'm not familiar with that finch disease. These cats round your way are fairly decimating the young birds. I'd be raging if I were you. Their owners should put bells on them to warn the young birds, or keep them indoors during the breeding season.

Enjoyed the video of your flowers too...what an amazing collection you have. Your hosta leaves looked in pristine condition...not lacy with slug damage. I have many hostas and the hedgehogs must help me, because I never get slug damage either. Other gardeners ask me about them all the time, but I can take no credit.

Layanee said...

The finch pictures are so detailed! Great shots. His feathers look like he just took a bath and let them air dry!

shirl said...

Hi again, Wildlife Gardener

Thanks – I have now managed another video this time with a hedgehog entering the feeding station! It has been very interesting observing it all. I have seen them run off too and yes they can shift! If they use a feeding box now then if, big if, I get young juveniles visiting I would then consider feeding cat or dog food so they get heavy enough to survive winter hibernation.

Sadly, I am quite familiar with the finch disease and hygiene at the feeding areas is the thing but when birds travel around from garden to garden it can spread. The bird becomes fat and lethargic and you can almost stand in front it and it won’t move away. I have also noticed that the birds can be quite thirsty too. I always slow down filling up feeders so the bird groups that visit my garden split up and some move away. I have also seen house sparrows with it too. As for the cats – I considered asking the owner about putting a bell on it but they have more than one cat!

I enjoyed making the video for GBBD – it was a change and it will be great to look back on at the end of the year when my garden will be quite different again. Yes I have noticed that my hostas are in better condition this year – perhaps the hedgehog has been my secret little helper for some time :-)

I wondered if you had seen my post ‘Wild Flowers July 2007’ earlier this month where I linked over to my plant photos blog – that was an interesting exercise too.

shirl said...

Hi again, Layanee

Thanks – I was delighted with these particular photos. It was the feathers that I liked too. Yes, a bath and an air dry is an excellent description :-)

Jan said...

Hi Shirl, sadly I would say that the finch you have photographed definitely is sick with the tricho. It has virtually wiped out all the greenfinches and a huge number of chaffs here over the past months. If you find their bodies, as I have done many times, they are skeletal, the feathers are just fluffed up. The tricho blocks their throats and they can't swallow, and they just starve to death. Its awful - takes them about 3 or 4 days to die. :(

shirl said...

Hi, Jan

Thanks for your comment - I thought so too but it didn't appear sickly as I have seen others.

Thankfully I have never found any dead birds. As you have said it is a pretty horrible disease.

We still have plenty greenfinches and chaffinches at the moment - sorry to here that you are loosing them in West Wales :-(

BTW I have just browsed your site and I see you have a few visiting hedgehogs - I will be back to read further. We have had a hedgehog visiting for almost two weeks now and this is all very new to us :-)