Scientists report that deadly bird disease Trichomonosis responsible for killing Greenfinches and Chaffinches in the UK has now spread to Europe.
The disease is caused by a parasite first seen in British Finches in 2005 but since then the deadly disease has shrunk the nations garden Greenfinches by a worrying 35 per cent along with the Chaffinches population falling by 7 per cent.
“Trichomonosis has emerged as a very serious threat to these birds, so it is very important that vets and ornithologists collaborate to determine whether we might see further spread and to monitor the impact of the parasite on wild bird populations across Europe.”
“It looks like chaffinches left the east of England in 2008, and that spring they went to the breeding ground in Fennoscandia and took the parasite with them, which is where the outbreak occurred.
“While greenfinches and chaffinches have been most badly hit, the disease has also been diagnosed in a number of other bird species, including the house sparrow and yellowhammer, both of which are already endangered”,said Zoologist Dr Becki Lawson.
Now all the experts have to do is understand more about Trichomonosis and try to monitor its spread:
“We are concerned whenever you see something like this: A sudden drop in a population.
“But the fact we have been able to pick this one up and understand why it has happened is a positive thing.
“We are looking out for birds that are fluffed up, lethargic and sitting around the bird feeders and not really going anywhere, and maybe looking a bit wet around the bill.
“Those are the typical signs of disease and if birds are coming into people’s gardens, and people are seeing a number of birds with those symptoms, should report them”, added Mike Toms who asks not only for the general public to report sightings of birds displaying symptoms of the disease and report it to their nearest RSPB office but toÂ ensure that all bird feeders, bird baths and feeding surfaces are kept as clean as possible.
Mr Toms added that the killer bird disease is most severe and frequent between August and October.