How To Protect Wild Birds From Diseases
Like humans, birds can also become unwell from illnesses and diseases, however there are a few ways you can help reduce their chances of becoming sick. Within this blog we are going to run over a few hints and tips, so you are a bit more familiar with the common diseases which affect wild birds and what you should do if you spot one which is unwell.
Diseases which affect wild birds
Some of the most common diseases which can affect the birds in your garden include:
- Avian Pox
- Mycoplasma Conjunctivitis
- West Nile Virus
Spotting the signs of disease in wild birds
When it comes to illness birds may exhibit a range of worrying symptoms, however the number and severity ranges for each bird and species. Many birds attempt to hide any signs of illness to reduce the threat from predators. Take a look below at some of the most common symptoms:
- Swollen eyes or membrane
- Excessive mucus coming from the bill or eyes
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of feathers
- Visible lesions or pustules
- Erratic or confused behaviour
Ways to prevent diseases among wild birds
Below we have listed some simple ways to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases among birds, many are related to cleanliness and keeping a watchful eye.
- The key to reducing the risk of spreading diseases is to clean, clean and clean some more! Ensure you thoroughly clean your bird feeders, bird baths and the ground beneath the feeders on a weekly basis or more regularly if they are heavily used.
- Regularly inspect your seed for any signs of mold or spoilage
- Dispose of any dead birds found in your garden so no other animals or wildlife can access them
- If you do notice an outbreak of diseases in your feeding area withdraw offering food for a short period of time. This will help to encourage wild birds to feed from a larger area reducing the risk of spreading the disease
What should you do if you find a sick or injured bird?
It is important to remember that no treatment can be administered to sick wild birds, due to the risk of administering the medication to the wrong bird(s) (some medications are harmful to some species).
Like many animals, birds do not show signs of sickness until they are extremely unwell. by this point it is unlikely that medication will treat them successfully. If you do find an unwell wild bird in your garden, take it to a local veterinary centre who will be able to advise if euthanasia is the best course of action. Don’t forget When picking up an unwell wild bird always use protective gloves to prevent diseases being passed across to yourself and other animals.
If you need advice on how to look after an injured bird, head over to our handy blog how to help an injured bird.