Young Robin - taken 2009 in back garden - Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland


When was the last time you actually watched wildlife in your back garden?

Today? Last week? Can't remember? In today's modern world, we are finding it increasingly difficult to relax and take time out from work or family. This blog is to remind you all of the free entertainment that we can enjoy each and every day - WILDLIFE!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Diseased Chaffinch?

We have a flock of around 7 Chaffinches who come into our garden every day, the other week I noticed one of the females had something wrong with her foot. I thought it was a clump of mud & seed stuck around her claws but after trying to focus on it (unsuccessfully), I realised there were lots of what appear to be little cysts.
Does anybody know what has caused this?

She wouldn't stand still long enough for a clear shot!

She seems to be well & has no difficulty keeping with the flock & feeding, I'm just curious to know what this is & whether it would be contagious to the other birds?

On a brighter note we finally had our first Siskin in the garden today - a female all by herself. I did scan the surrounding trees/scrub but couldn't see any more of them.

The rat was also very active today and kept scurrying across to the crumbs of stale cake!

And of course, the Robin not wanting to be left out of the photos!


Warren Baker said...

Hi Sharon,
The Chaffinch is suffering from a viral infection. It's called Papilloma Virus. It seems not to harm the birds, unless it inhibits their feeding.

Nice to see you have the Siskin at the feeders!

ShySongbird said...

Hi Sharon, Your little Chaffinch has Fringilla papillomavirus, a viral disease, as the name suggests. Cases of it usually occur in clusters and can be associated with poor hygiene at feeding stations (not that I'm suggesting that applies to you). The warts grow slowly but sometimes part of the foot can be lost.

Great to see the Siskin and a lovely photo of Ratty. I also loved the picture of the Bullfinch on the previous post, you do get some great visitors.

PS. While I was writing this, Warren posted his comment but I have included my bit of info anyway.

Cheryl said...

Hi Sharon...I shall not pass comment on the chaffinch as other have suggested the causes. I will just say I do agree. I had a case in my garden a few years back. I always kept feeding areas clean but would say that I am now quite obsessive.

Rats......grrrrr. I keep getting them in the garden.....Nella has great fun chasing them around. Whilst I personally would never encourage them, BUT don't they have beautiful eyes? I guess it is something we all have to live with...rats are now a part of everyday life, wherever you live.

Sharon said...

Thanks for that. With regards to clean feeding stations, the Chaffinches feed off the ground the other side of our fence which is woodland.
When they come into the garden they're eating any stray seeds off the gravel & soil. They hardly ever land on any of the nut feeders/fat ball feeders (which I do keep clean).
The rat we have lives in the woodland and eats everything left over by the birds. It has no reason to come into the house whilst theres plenty of food outside.
I agree they do have gorgeous eyes, I think they're just as cute as woodmice!

Bob Bushell said...

I like the Siskin. I am sad about that poor Chaffinch, they seem to have it everywhere you looks.

Chris said...

Well I guess you got your answer concerning this disease! Well done on the pictures, they are beautiful. I hope I will see siskins this year!

Tony nile life said...

Birds are quite hardy and loosing a foot does not seem to bother them it does bother us , oow poor little thing etc,
I hand reared 2 turtle doves in 2008 both have come back and reared more young, Early last year the female lost its leg to a hooded crow. she is still about and seems not to have made the slightest bit of difference to her behaviour only every time the crows are about she is gone. once pecked twice shy.
we also get lots of rats here and tree rats.

Sharon said...

Thanks for following, Tony.
I know what you mean about the birds being hardy - we used to get a one footed Starling in our garden every day for about 2 years, she even brought down her young to feed.
She seemed to manage okay, we just made sure we put out lots of extra food for her in the cold weather.
This Chaffinch seems to be managing okay too, she comes down for food with the flock every day, at least I know whats wrong with her now.