Feeding birds

To: Simon <>
Subject: Feeding birds
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2016 06:16:34 +0000
I think that, if you want to feed birds, the rule of thumb is, a little bit 
irregularly, and move your feeding site regularly.

Carl Clifford

> On 1 Feb 2016, at 3:57 PM, Simon <> wrote:
> A major concern with feeding wild birds is the potential for disease
> transmission through faecal and bird-to-bird contact. This is of particular
> concern in the countries where psittacine species are endemic (like
> Australia, but unlike the US and Europe) together with one of their major
> diseases: beak and feather disease. This disease, caused by a circovirus
> that is shed in the faeces and the dander is increasingly widespread in wild
> cockatoos and other psittacine species that commonly visit feeders, as well
> as in aviaries (this disease is threatening the breed and release program
> for the orange bellied parrot, for example). The infection can cause a
> lethal acute or sub-acute disease in young birds or a more chronic condition
> in older birds with typical abnormalities of the beak and feathers and
> suppression of the immune system, rendering the birds vulnerable to other
> infections. Chronically infected birds consistently shed the virus. The
> virus is particularly persistent in the environment, being able to survive
> outside the infected bird for months.
> Whilst this disease is a real threat to our parrot populations, I do not
> consider the danger should, of itself, mitigate against feeding wild birds,
> provided that proper hygiene is maintained. It is essential to remove stale,
> faecally contaminated food daily, to keep bowls and utensils scrupulously
> clean and regularly disinfected - ideally every day. Although the virus is
> resistant and persistent, it can be inactivated by exposure to common
> household bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite solution) for 20 minutes, or to
> more sophisticated, but less easily obtained, disinfectants such as Vircon
> SR. (Such a program will also help to control other infections that can
> potentially infect humans, such as Salmonella).
> My worry is that few bird feeders are aware of the dangers or diligent
> enough to keep up the biosecurity precautions.
> Simon R Robinson
> BSc, BVetMed, MBA, MRCVS, Grad Cert Ornith
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