BIRD lovers are being urged to clean feeders regularly to prevent garden birds from becoming ill.
The RSPCA was called out to 67 cases of sick or weak birds across Warwickshire in 2021.
The charity added the calls included ground feeders such as wood pigeons, blackbirds and robins, as well as those that use hanging feeders such as sparrows, finches and tits.
With the RSPCA’s helpline struggling to manage an increasing number of calls the charity is calling on householders to play their part to help maintain the health of garden birds – and other animals.
The RSPCA says the devastating spread of bird flu particularly is a reminder of the devastation that can occur from contagious diseases.
While bird flu doesn’t tend to affect garden birds, steps to prevent highly infectious diseases from spreading through a bird population are essential whatever the species.
RSPCA scientific officer Evie Button said: “Birds can die from diseases caught from dirty feeders and water bowls so it’s really important to keep garden bird feeders clean.
“Birds are not as healthy as they should be and one way we can make a difference and keep them disease-free is good hygiene.
“While bird flu – a terrible disease which is currently sweeping through our waterfowl and seabird populations – thankfully doesn’t tend to affect garden birds very often, it’s a timely reminder of the devastation that can occur from a highly contagious disease.
“By regularly cleaning bird feeders we can all do our bit to help stop the spread of devastating diseases and maintain the health of our garden birds.”
To help garden birds maintain their health, the RSPCA recommends:
* Cleaning feeders weekly and water containers every day (rinse with water and dry before refilling)
* Rotating feeding areas around the garden (this keeps bird droppings and bacteria from building up)
* Keeping feeding areas raised above the ground (to deter mice, rats and other unwanted visitors)
For more information about feeding and caring for wild garden birds or advice on what to do if you find a sick bird in your garden visit www.rspca.org.uk