Sign up for our newsletter:
Avian pox hits garden birds22 August 2011
A DEADLY strain of avian pox is threatening to devastate populations of one of the UK’s favourite garden birds.
Great tits appear to be worst affected, with the pox showing up as unsightly growths on birds’ necks and heads.
The RSPB said the problem, which has spread since 2007, is rife in summer and autumn.
It is not uncommon to see a number of tits affected in a garden. Although other species such as wood pigeons and dunnocks have been hit by the disease, the level of infection has been less severe.
RSPB experts said the disease is thought to be passed on by biting insects such as mosquitoes, direct bird-to-bird contact, and contaminated surfaces such as bird tables.
A spokeswoman for bird care product firm Gardman said: “We have always advised that all bird feeding equipment should be regularly cleaned to minimise the risk of transmission of bird diseases.”
She added: “We have launched new products with Feedsafe, a stay-clean biocidal coating that prevents the build-up of harmful microbes and helps to stop the transmission of bird diseases, including avian pox.”