Wild birds can be affected by many different types of parasite or disease. In many cases these have relatively little impact on the individual, but in some cases they can cause illness or even death. Much of BTO's work in this area assesses the prevalence of disease in birds using gardens. Birds coming to feeders often congregate more closely than they would in the wild, so the risk of disease transmission can be increased. BTO works to understand how to minimise these risks, and to provide advice on the safest way to feed birds.
Garden BirdWatchers allow us to better understand disease in British finches
Weekly reports from BTO Garden BirdWatchers, as well as ad hoc sightings of disease from members of the public to Garden Wildlife Health, have aided our understanding of leg lesions (more commonly referred to as ‘scaly leg’ or ‘tassel foot’) in British finches.
Dodging the blades: gulls and wind farms
Initial findings suggest that Lesser Black-backed Gulls in north-west England fly within wind farms, but may avoid wind turbines once there.
Report on the welfare of your garden wildlife
Tell us about sick and diseased wildlife found in your garden. Garden BirdWatch participants can also add observations when entering their usual GBW counts.