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"If you talk to the animals
They will talk to you
and you will know each other.
If you do not talk to them,
You will not know them,
And what you do not know
You will fear.
What one fears one destroys."
- Chief Dan George

Birds With Diseases - Oh No!

Occasionally our wildlife station is presented with adult birds with diseases. The two most common, are avian pox and conjunctivitis. These two can usually be easily diagnosed by the wildlife rehabilitator and by knowing their symptoms, can also be spotted by the amateur birdwatcher.

The first, avian pox, is a virus which is most commonly seen in its cutaneous, or skin form. Small nodules, which develop into sores, are seen on the cere (bridge of the beak), eyelids, commissure (line formed by closed beak), carpi (wrist), legs and feet. There is a systemic form, seen throughout internal tissues and a diptheroid (cell shape) form, seen in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Mosquitoes, mites and direct contact spread the disease. All species of birds are susceptible.

The second is mycoplasmal conjunctivitis. This is caused by bacteria, which give symptoms of inflammation of the eyelids, respiratory difficulty and sinusitis. It is transmitted through mucous droppings. Although seen most commonly in House Finches, it can be seen in any species of bird.

Aside from treatment by a wildlife rehabilitator, the control of these diseases is mostly up to those of us who provide bird-feeding stations. All suspected feeders should be soaked in a solution of 10% bleach and water, and allowed to sun/air dry. Plastic feeders should be quickly doused, rinsed thoroughly and sun/air dried as the plastic may deteriorate from exposure to bleach. It is wise to clean feeders periodically (monthly is best) to prevent the continuous spread of these life-threatening avian diseases. If you see an outbreak of these diseases, please call a wildlife rehabilitator.

                                                                              Submitted by:
Trish Zimmerman






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