Speaking of citizen science, I have to report a sick goldfinch in my yard. I saw this lone goldfinch on a branch of my tree and it was acting funny. I got so close to it that I could see its breathing and I noticed both eyes were swollen shut. I went back into my house to grab a shoe box because I knew I could grab it, but it was gone when I went back outside. I brought in all of my feeders and disinfected them and they are back outside. If I see anymore than I am going to have to stop feeding for a week or so which is going to kill me because this is when food is at its most scarce for birds. I did some research at fellow blogs Rambling Woods and Vickie Henderson Art and learned a lot more about helping to control an outbreak.
Right now I am okay because there is only one sick goldfinch that I know of, but I must remain vigilant in my monitoring. I clean my bird bath daily with a hot water rinse, but will do a bleach cleaning 3 times a week.
Platform feeders are the worse feeders to have for disease spread due to the fact that bird feces gets in the food and that is how it is spread. The platform feeder that I just filled up will not be filled up for about two weeks. I will fill up the coconut feeders as food only lasts in there a day and I can clean them with bleach and water every evening as they are super easy to clean (another benefit of coconut feeders). I have two thistle tube feeders and only put out one usually. What I am going to do is rotate the tube feeders. The thistle usually lasts two days and then I have to refill. What I am going to do is replace the tube feeder every other day with a clean disinfected one and rotate for a couple of weeks or so.
I am hoping this will work as I would hate to stop feeding the birds. I will do it if I have to but would rather not because the birds really need it this time of the year.
Something interesting happened to me as I was driving today. I saw a bird that was the size of the turkey vulture. It had a huge twig in its feet and it was flying toward a billboard. I was driving and asked my son to look up there and he confirmed the bird looked to be building a nest of sorts. When we drove by there afterwards, there was no birds, but a bunch of twigs. I am going to have to keep my eyes open to see what bird it is that is building its nest in a billboard!