9th August 2013, 09:55 AM
Serious Warning About Birds
One day last week I saw a newly downed and dead Pigeon on the pavement. Unusual for my part of Birmingham, but I went on my way and didn't think much more about it. Yesterday afternoon I saw a newly dead Collar Dove lying on the drive of my neighbours immediately across the road from me. Felt sad, thought it was unusual, but didn't take a lot of notice.
Last night, just before dark I was getting the dogs in from the garden before bedtime when I saw another Collar Dove standing almost still on the rockery at the end of the garden. I thought it a miracle that Winston Alexander hadn't caught, despatched and devoured it on sight, but got him in and watched through the glass doors for a little while. The bird was very feeble in it's movements, managing to hop about a little but making no attempt to fly. After the dogs went to bed I got the binoculars out to watch the bird from the bedroom window. It looked plump and healthy, but I decided it was obviously dying. I prayed that it would either recover and fly away or meet a peaceful end before morning. After I took the dogs out walking this morning I looked into the garden again. So far as I can see the bird is now lying under the tree and motionless, dying or dead.
I started to wonder what caused these birds to come down like this, so thought it might be too early to ring the RSPB, so rang the RSPCA's helpline, only to get a recorded announcement to say they had moved premises and giving a new number, which I carefully wrote down. I rang the number, trying several times, but it doesn't exist, meaning that they are giving out wrong information over the answerphone. I checked again with Virgin Media's Dir. Enquiries, but the original number they gave me is the only one they have!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhh.
Then I rang the RSPB. They were there of course and only too pleased to advise. The lovely lady called Clare told me the birds are probably dying from a contageous disease which affects their capacity to swallow - therefore they die of dehydration and/or starvation. It is not known whether the infection is cross species, so she advised me to clear the carcass before the dogs have a chance to consume it.
So now I have the grisly task of overcoming my feelings of distress and revulsion so that I can pick up and safely bag the poor bird before the dogs go to root around in the garden and find it. I will hose down the rockery and under the tree afterwards in the hope of minimising any risk of infection.
Just to underline what I'm saying: I asked Clare whether the illness crosses species and she told me honestly that she does not know and she is an RSPB Wildlife Field Officer, obviously somebody of extensive knowledge, knowing exactly what she is talking about. It really does sound to me as if these downed dead/dying birds may have the potential to be dangerous to our dogs, so please look out for any in the garden or parks where you go and KEEP THE CAVALIERS AWAY FROM THEM, just in case.
A friend kindly checked this out on the RSPB site while I was completing the grisly work in the garden:
The diesease amongst Collared Doves is called Trichomoniasis (Canker), which causes lesions in the throat, preventing the poor bird from swallowing when it tries to eat and drink. If you put out bird feeders please read the information about prevention of spread and garden hygiene on the RSPB website. I am not sure if non RSPB members can access the information or not. In case of any problems, please let me know and I will copy it out for you.
Last edited by ByFloSin; 9th August 2013 at 11:14 AM.
Flo & the ByFloSin Cavaliers
Winston Alexander,Little Joe & Holly Poppet
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