Please, do not hamper a young bird's life by picking it up, and taking it home with you. It is calling its parents to help them in locating it.
After fledgling from the nest, the parent birds will keep feeding it, and look out for it, until it will be able to look after itself.
And the reason you cannot see a parent is because of your own proxomity to the young bird. And while you are ebating if or not you should take the bird home, you keep the parent from giving it well needed nutrition in the form of a meal!


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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Farewell to my Greenfinch

This summer we saw a lot of Greenfinches in the garden, including young ones. The fledglings were gorgeous, and a delight to watch as they set their feet onto the peanut feeder for the first time.
Then a week or so ago, I spotted this one which seemed very lethargic when I came around the corner of the house.
The thought of another bout of Trichomoniasis in my birds made me shiver, because in 2007/2008 this horrible disease decimated the flock of House Sparrows.

The sight of this little Greenfinch in the birdbath did not cheer me up either. I had spotted it earlier underneath the feeder, pecking at the bits of nuts in my windowbox, and when it finally flew of, I took the camera to my workroom, from where I have a good view over the bath.

It did not look too puffed up, nor did it seem to have the swollen throat, as you'd see in birds suffering from Tricho. Something was definitely wrong though.
And although it was hardly moving, its insstinct to hide from me behind the little bee-house, made it more difficult for me to catch the poor thing.

Eventually, I was able to pick it up, but the poor bird had already died in my windowbox.

Some liquid in the feathers on the head seem to have dried up, which I think is something like blood, although I have not yet found any puncture wounds, but I will look for it in the morning. It is very mean that I myself had my cat re-adopted shortly after Francis died, because she had started to chase the birds. On my own I was unable to police her properly, so she had to go. in return what did I get in the garden?
A set of older kittens, from 2 houses down. A nextdoor neighbour with a cat, Lucy. She keeps me company from the gardenwall separating our gardens, during the night when I lie awake. wondering if the pain will ever go away, in return for a bit of sleep.

And to top it all off, a recent set of young kittens, eager to learn from the older set!
So I now have 5 cats in the garden!!! After I got rid of my own..

I myself am now thinking of getting an assistance dog, which can do amazing tasks as help for people with disabilities. Very much like a guard dog for the blind.
Hopefully I would then be able to teach it to leave the birds alone and scare the felines from my patch!
I will phone Fachtna, my vet tomorrow about my little Greenfinch. See what he thinks.


  1. Cats, they are a terrible sign. I don't like them for that reason. They kill our birds and then just leave them.

  2. Always sad when a beautiful bird loses it's life.
    I feel for you also having let your own cat go to be in this situation now. You can't blame the cats, it's only in their instincts. The idea of getting the dog is a good one and may i suggest for now the you could either get one of those super squirter water pistol things or a trusty squeezy bottle or similar and try to give the felines a good soaking if they encroach into your garden. We have 6 cats, all pedigrees and none of them go out but we also get cats into the garden as we also love our visiting birds but we wouldn't harm any intruding cats, just try to scare them off.
    Keep up the good work with the birds !!

  3. I can't tell much from your photo's Yoke, it could be old age and then it could be delayed shock from an attack by a cat. Nice to see you active on your blog again

  4. c'mon cat lovers...help out bird lovers!!! Cats Got a Sylvester stalking your feeder hoping to snag himself a Tweety Bird? Between 1970 and 1990 the number of domestic cats in the United States doubled, from 30 million to 60 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Taking into account stray and feral cats, more than 100 million cats are likely prowling the United States. Although birds make up only about 20 percent of the prey killed by cats (mice and other rodents are mainly taken), felines kill hundreds of millions of birds each year. Many of these are migratory songbirds that are already under pressure from habitat loss and other threats, including collisions with buildings and cell phone towers. Most bird fatalities happen near homes, where house cats come and go and where birds are concentrated at feeders. Fledglings are acutely vulnerable, since some spend a few days on the ground before they can fly. The best way to reduce the risks to birds is to keep cats indoors—particularly if there are active bird feeders nearby. This protects not only birds; it could save the cats from untimely deaths on the road. Indoor cats are also safer from feline leukemia and other diseases, parasites, attacks from predators, and fights with other cats. Additionally, cats that roam at night are more likely to come into contact with raccoons and skunks, the primary transmitters of rabies in the wild. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is just five years; by contrast, indoor cats can live more than 15 years. Putting bells on a kitty’s collar is largely ineffective in preventing bird predation, because by the time the bell rings, it’s usually too late for the prey to escape; fledglings are unable to fly away in any case. Kittens are easiest to train to a life indoors, but even older cats can learn new ways. It takes the attention of your entire family to keep your cat within the safety of your home. Providing toys, games, activities, and other forms of “environmental enrichment” can help minimize boredom and keep indoor cats fit and alert. Bird feeders near windows—even videos of bird feeders, mice, and fish—can entertain indoor cats for hours. Or try interactive cat games that provide exercise, play, and problem solving. One source is the new book 101 Cool Games for Cool Cats (Rockwell House, 2007), by Elissa Wolfson. Also consider a fenced-in cat enclosure that offers fresh air, sunshine, and climbing perches. Commercial pre-built enclosures are available from online retailers. For those who have neighborhood cats near their feeders, one device that may prove useful is the Scarecrow Motion Activated Defender. This battery-operated product has a motion/heat sensor that triggers a startling noise and a blast of water to scare predators. If you need proof that a neighbor’s cat is stalking your feeders, catch him in the act with a weatherproof camera like the Wingscapes BirdCam, which snaps photos with a motion-detecting lens.

  5. Thank you all for your comments, guys. Cats and wildlife have been a big problem for years already, and it wasn't easy to let go of my own cat, so soon after Francis died, but I do think it was the right thing to do. Especially as I had a lot of young birds this summer.

    Johnny, I have used a plantsprayer for years to deter cats from feeding areas. The problem is now though that I've moved my new laptop and my work from the kitchen to the workroom at the front. A room where Francis used to work. I am less distracted by my birds and hope to get more work done. The feeders are at the back and side of the house. (although I do want to hang another feeder at the window of my workroom, because the birds like the area in the front as well.

    Mike, I hope it could be old age, and indeed added stress. Still, it is a horrible way of watching it die.

    Anonymous, you are giving some good tips here. And some I might take up in a next post.


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