'It was really everywhere': Cases of deadly bird infection confirmed on P.E.I.
Bird enthusiasts advised to wait for cooler, drier weather before putting bird feeders and birdbaths back out
Wildlife experts are advising bird lovers to wait a little longer until cooler, drier weather before putting their bird feeders and birdbaths back out for their feathered friends.
The recommendation comes after several confirmed cases of tricomoniasis on P.E.I. this summer, a deadly infection affecting American goldfinch and purple finch.
"It's definitely different from the last past summers," said wildlife technician Fiep de Bie of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.
"It started actually the end of June, whereas usually it starts like mid July early August, and it's been lasting quite a long time, the fact that it's still here, that's the quite unusual."
Dead birds have been found in several locations across the Island. de Bie said the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative keeps an updated map of confirmed cases.
"Everywhere really from east to west, from north to south, it was really everywhere, and the last couple of cases I was consulting with the department of fish and wildlife, department of environment and they had some phone calls, I think it was North Rustico, Murray Harbour, and we had some cases from Argyle Shore as well in the last week.
"We still have some submissions actually coming in in the last couple of weeks unfortunately. The weather circumstances are such, like today for example, it's very moist, it's warm, are just ideal for this parasite, so yes, unfortunately, we're still seeing some cases."
Trichomononsis is an infectious disease among many species of birds caused by the microscopic parasite Trichomonas gallinae. The parasite often infects the upper digestive tract, as well as the liver, lungs, air sacs, internal lining of the body, pancreas, bones, and the sinuses of the skull. This parasite does not pose a health risk to humans or other mammals.
"It's spread by the bird itself, so actually at the feeder, and so they're trying to eat the seeds, but their throat, their upper digestive tract is affected by the disease, their lining is very inflammed," said de Bie.
"It's just an awful disease because they are very sore in their throat, and so they bring up their food, they can't really keep their food down, so they regurgitate their food, they get back into the feeder or platform feeder or their birdbath and then other birds will eat it and that's how they get the disease."
de Bie is urging people to be patient before putting feeders out.
"We can say late fall or the beginning of the winter, or winter. I think that's when birds might need it the most. Right now they still have enough food in the environment, so it's really weather dependent right now. The moist, warm weather is just, those are ideal conditions for this parasite."