Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Morning walk and avipoxvirus again

Being such a beautiful day, I decided to take a walk down the road. Eastern Meadowlarks are everywhere! Broom sedge is coming back to many of the fields that I used to remember it in. The meadowlarks are taking advantage of it. When I was a child, I remember finding lots of Bobwhite in broom sedge as well, I would love to hear that sound again.

My curse of finding dead or sick birds on my walks seems to be back :-( . This female American Goldfinch landed not too far from my feet in a driveway as I was walking. The bird must have been able to see somewhat, as it flew away when I got closer. Here is a dead bird from avian pox that I found last year on a local walk down my street.

I have never seen avian pox on the birds that visit my feeders. I clean them often and I usually don't feed birds in the spring and summer (a money saving strategy!). My birdbath (cleaned daily) has been empty since I moved it to mow and never put it back. I found this bird near where the grackle was found last year. I really would like to find the source of this, maybe a neighbor's feeders?


  1. What is the cause of avipoxvirus.

  2. :( I hope you can find the source, and see if something can be done. :(

  3. Avipoxvirus is a virus in the same family as smallpox, Poxviridae. It is spread by birds coming into contact with contaminated food or water. The virus can remain dormant in very dry conditions for a very long time and I have even read that it can travel on dust particles in the air. It only affects birds.

    It is also spread by mosquitoes that carry the virus. I am beginning to wonder if this is why I can't seem to find where the birds are coming into contact with it.

  4. That birdbath story sounds familiar. I took mine down for the winter, and still haven't put it back up, even though it's been nice here for days.

  5. There is an article on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website (http://tinyurl.com/y69so47)
    on House Finch Disease or avian mycoplasma conjunctivitis. I had a housefinch affected by it last year and took my feeder down, cleaned and did not put it back up for several months. Haven't seen any since. I believe it's a real epidemic.

  6. In my youth I lived in rural New Jersey where I have a very vivid recollection of the song of the Bobwhite singing all night long in the summer months. You may here a one second recording of the call at a USGS website here . . .