Disease decimating garden bird population

Garden and greenhouse lovers who enjoy seeing wild birds setting up home in their green space could notice a dramatic drop in populations this year.

According to new research, a disease is sweeping some of the nation’s best-loved species and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths per year.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) reported that the Garden Bird Health Initiative has found trichomonosis to be responsible for as many as 500,000 bird deaths across all species in a single year.

Studies show that approximately 35 per cent of greenfinches and 20 per cent of chaffinches died out within a year as a result of the disease jumping the "species barrier" from pigeon to finches about five years ago.

According to report authors the British Trust for Ornithology, it is an unprecedented epidemic that is caused by a parasite passing through saliva in bird feeders, regurgitated food and birdbaths.

Gardeners can help by cleaning their bird feeders and baths at least once a week and informing the Garden Bird Health Initiative of any sick or dead birds they find.

In other news, the RHS recently reminded growers to get their applications in for the Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship programme.