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 Post subject: Birds dying in my yard
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:49 am 
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Location: Dallas,TEXAS
I am a total organic gardener and have been for 8 years. My neighbors have not used any kind of outside pesticides for over a year. Over the last 3 weeks, I have had 4 birds die in my yard. Three of the birds wer cowbirds and one was a sparrow. The 3 cowbirds were alrady dead when I found them and they just looked like they fell out of the tree, dead. No mauling from a cat or any obvious injury. The sparrow, we found yesterday in our front yard. He was obviously ill, not flying and very laboured breath. He died shortly after we found him.

The city will not come and test any of the birds for West Nile because they are not Black Birds or Blue Jays which are more suseptible to West Nile. I called an Animal Hospital in the area that treats birds but they could not help me.

I'm just sick about this and don't know what to do.

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 Post subject: dead birds
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:18 am 
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Location: Uncertain,TEXAS
Did your dead birds have any kind of crusty stuff around their eyes? There's a highly contageous disease that kills birds (especially finches), and one of the signs is crusty eyes. I had several die with it a couple of years ago, and found info on it at the Cornell website. Go to it and click on 'house finch eye disease'. There are photos of a couple of other diseases that affect finches and other birds, even raptors, and I believe they have a line to e-mail questions. Of course, there may be someone around your neighborhood that put out insecticide, too.
http://www.birds.cornell.edu


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 Post subject: Sick?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 8:45 am 
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Location: Huntsville, TX
Sandih,
Why are sick about it? That is a little extreme just for some dead birds.
And you being organic and your neighbor not spraying anything, it is a little nieve to think that birds won't die on your property if you are organic.

There are a lot more birds in my neighborhood than people and knowing that some birds live only a few years, I would be much more expectant to see a dead bird in my yard than somebody dead on the street. Just remember that birds like people have to die somewhere and since there are more birds than folks, you can't avoid seeing one every now and then... it is natural, don't your tomatoes die by winter time.

There is one diesease that is becoming a little more common (foget the name) where the bird appears totally fine and may just up and die in mid-flight (and no, it is not instant lead poisioning).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 10:09 am 
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Location: Midlothian,TEXAS
For what it's worth...Brown-headed cowbirds parasitize the endangered black-capped vireo nests--dumping out and depositing cowbird eggs in their place, which the vireos then unknowingly raise.

Plus, they quickly empty out my bird feeders, mostly on the ground. :evil:


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 Post subject: Cowbird
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 11:48 am 
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I thought that the cowbird came and laid the eggs without touching the existing eggs, and then the cowbird chick hatched first and instinctivly pushed the eggs (or chicks if they had already hatched) out of the nest. Isn't the cowbird chick "shaped" a little different than other chicks to enable this "bon voyage."

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 2:47 pm 
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First of all, I can feel however I want about this without you questioning me. I feel for living things that die and in the 13 years I've lied at my house I've never seen 4 dead brids on my property in such a short timeframe. I am not nieve I am trying to see if there's a disease or other issue that I need to be proactive about..to prevent other creatures from dying. The birds that died are not my favorites for sure but I can't ignore something that is so out of the norm for ME.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 2:49 pm 
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that should be LIVED at my house...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 3:22 pm 
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Location: Huntsville, TX
Sorry if I was a little more "real life, natural" than others. I wasn't at all suggesting that you should be hard and calious. My point was just that it is natural and if you have lived there 13 years and these are the first 4 dead birds you have seen on your property, you are either lucky or you live in a area with very poor habitat.

Yes, you do have reason to wonder about 4 in a season. Part of my message was that even if it does appear odd, that doesn't mean that (insert your favorite evil big chemical company here) has killed another bird. Most people are floored to learn that those cute little Neo-Tropical Migrants live only 2 years. Sparrows can expect to live a little longer and cowbirds longer still, but they still die at a significantly high rate from our point of view.

As far as feeling for animals, my wife makes me stop for snapping turtles to help them accross the road (I will stop for the red-eared sliders witout her telling me to.)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:58 pm 
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My point, which you obviously missed, was asking for real advice regarding other things I might need to look out for since I ruled out chemicals at this point.

I have a very lively habitat and have seen a couple of dead birds, but they are rare. I doubt I should look to a high death rate as a successful habitat. I didn't think your response was "real-life natural" at all. Quite the opposite.

I thought I'd give this forum a try, since I post all my others regarding plants. Maybe not.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 8:36 pm 
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maybe if you remind the "city" that cowbirds are in the blackbird family, that will motivate them to take a look.

you don't have a water source that has gone bad in some way or some kind of feed (or something they used as feed) that has gone bad?

hope you've seen the last of it


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 Post subject: dead birds
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 8:44 pm 
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Location: Plano & land at Dodd City,TEXAS
Sandih-
I felt very bad to hear of the dead birds you found in your yard. We once tried to rescue a small blue jay from neighborhood cats by putting it in a box in a tree but the parents wouldn't get into it to feed him & he died. We cried! So some of us on the forum are a little more 'tender hearted' than others. Maybe 'sappy' is the word for it, but I do feel bad when creatures die. Yes, I know everything dies. Yes, I know some things have short lifespans. I think maybe Margaritaville was trying to make you feel somewhat better in his own way. But I also think that was a LOT of dead birds to find in a short period of time.
Patty

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 7:27 am 
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I have no water source exept a hanging birdbath (that I keep cleaned out) and my dog's water bowl that gets cleaned and refilled every couple of days. I also thought about something I heard regarding bacteria spread by birdseed that was "bad". Has anyone heard of such a thing?

I'm keeping watch to see if anything else strange occurs. Thanks.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 10:18 am 
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Location: Midlothian,TEXAS
Do birds ever get electrocuted by exposed lines?

Another possiblity...sometimes cats like to bring you gifts and kill only for the purpose of killing. The injury may not be obvious if they are skillful at suffocating their prey. Perhaps that still-breathing sparrow was not completely dead and the cat was startled by something before he finished him off.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:17 pm 
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I guess that's a possibility although I saw what was left of a bird that a cat killed in my neighbor's backyard....feathers everywhere.

Thanks for your thoughts on this.

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 Post subject: Dead cowbirds
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:16 am 
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Location: mckinney,TEXAS
This a a recent note from the Swarovski e-mail newsletter.

"Last month we wrote about outbreaks of avian disease (salmonella and E.
coli) that had been noted in the West (northern California and Alaska),
often among bird feeder-visitors. Since last month, we have received
additional reports of salmonella outbreaks across Minnesota, coinciding
with a Common Redpoll irruption in that region. Similar avian die-offs have
been reported in other locations in the East (e.g., from Quebec to New
York, Virginia, and North Carolina). Reports of dead Pine Siskins and
American Goldfinches were also recorded. Despite such mortality, the
overall redpoll population should be secure since birds that survive such
an outbreak have greater resistance than their fallen flockmates and
because they will scatter throughout the Arctic when they migrate northward again."

I have recently discussed similar issues with John Shaust, Chief Natrualist for Wild Birds Unlimited and Dr. David Horn, who is heading up a new WBFI bird feeding preference survey. Neither mentioned anything specific about cowbirds. I have not seen any reports specifically related to cowbirds in other locations.

The range of the cowbirds certainly extends well beyond the few houses in your immediate area. Poisioning is one possibility, just no way to tell for sure.

If you want to know more about cowbirds you can try this link.

http://cowbird.lscf.ucsb.edu/bibliograp ... raphy.html

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