As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Trichomoniasis killing Island finches

Finches spreading parasite through backyard feeders

By Mitch Cormier, CBC News Posted: Aug 12, 2016 1:00 PM AT Last Updated: Aug 12, 2016 2:50 PM AT

Some of the Island's finches are dying of starvation right beside backyard feeders filled with the food they crave. The birds' throats are being blocked by a parasite called trichomoniasis.  
'They're trying to swallow, they can't swallow.'- Maria Forzan, wildlife pathologist

"You get a lot of inflammation, a lot of swelling, you get these nodules, they're like white nodules," explained wildlife pathologist Maria Forzan of the Atlantic Veterinary College.

"They are so big they block the way of the food, they block the esophagus of the bird stops being able to swallow."

Forzan has completed 14 necropsies on finches from the Island this year, more than she usually does. The birds have been collected by wildlife officers in both eastern and western P.E.I.

Parasite spread through bird feeders
The dead birds are found mostly around backyard feeders, where they're trying to get to food.

However, those feeders are also the reason the parasite is spread to other finches.

"They're trying to swallow, they can't swallow, they bring it back up and with that goes the parasite — so the thrichomoniasis that causes the disease," said Forzan.

"The other birds end up taking that regurgitated food and getting infected."

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