Garden bird feeders are contributing to the spread of serious diseases among wild birds, scientists have warned, causing previously rare illnesses to become epidemics in some bird populations.
Poor garden feeder hygiene, droppings accumulations and stale food are promoting the transmission of illnesses between garden birds as the animals repeatedly congregate in the same location, coming into contact with species they would not usually interact with in the wild.
The study by the Zoological Society of London used more than 25 years of wild bird health data. It found dramatic changes in some British bird populations, which scientists believe could have been caused by disease spread at bird feeding sites.
Researchers say simple changes can help, like cleaning feeders regularly and rotating where you put them.