In previous posts I've spoken about a Bird Disease called Trichomonosis. I thought that the disease found in most Chaffinches was called Trichomonosis but I was wrong. The disease that most people spot in Chaffinches (trunking to the birds feet) is caused by a mite and is called Fringilla Papillomavirus. The mite is within the genus of knemisocoptes and is the main cause of the 'scaly' looking legs that you see. It can also be contracted around the base of the beak which can develop to be even more problematic for the bird by restricting breathing. It's not a nice looking disease and it's a horrible way to go as it eventually results in the bird loosing toes, feet and even whole legs which will eventually result in the bird dying from whatever gets there first, starvation or predation. I'm talking with the BTO at the moment to see if there are any measures in which we can take to overcome this problem as the thought of it getting into other species is quite worrying.
The image above shows that this disease is not just contracted by Chaffinches but is starting to spread into other species too. It is a big worry if this does spread into species like Yellowhammer or our Buntings because they aren't doing well as it is.
A few other diseases to look out for can also be found in Dunnocks, Great Tits and Wood Pigeons and that's typically known as Avian Pox.
If you think you have birds coming to your feeders that might have any of the diseases mentioned above, please clean your feeders regularly to help reduce the risk of spreading.
This is about all we can do to prevent spreading but you can also contribute by logging your disease sightings to 'Wild Garden Health'. You can even log any sightings of dead birds so don't hesitate to log stuff like this, it is all vital to the bigger picture and may contribute to an answer in curing this problem.
Please share to anyone who may feed birds in their Garden.