With the beautiful weather Cochrane is currently enjoying, it’s important to make washing your bird feeders part of your spring and summer routine.

Lisa Dahlseide a Conservation Biologist with Cochrane Ecological Institute says that dirty and unkept feeders can be a breeding ground for viruses for songbirds. “Conjunctivitis is revealed in the eye but as I understand it, it's actually a respiratory disease, and very contagious. It's especially an issue when we have our bird feeders, the word inciting congregation of birds to come in all hang out in a small area together.”

“You can use soapy water or 10% bleach solution is recommended”

Common signs of conjunctivitis in birds are red, goopy eyes. Finches are more commonly affected and Cochrane is home to two different varieties, house finch and purple finch.

“It's important not only to clean your bird feeder but also to rake up the ground and the bird seeds below. There are a few reasons for that, the birds are pooping and the disease can spread that way to the birds on the ground cleaning up the seeds. But another issue is the birds with conjunctivitis because they're essentially going blind and it's much easier for them to get their food source just by foraging on the ground. So they're going to hang out underneath the bird feeder and picking up those seeds as well and so you're inviting sick birds to hang out there as well as further spreading the disease.”