Gardeners in the UK spend around £200 million a year on bird food, which helps some of Britain’s most beloved species get by in the harsh winter months and beyond

But research by Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), suggests that bird tables and feeders are spreading illness because they bring species together which would never normally come into contact

The risk of disease is also increased if bird tables and other feeding stations are not kept clean, so stale food, food waste and droppings accumulate, the report warned

Co-author Kate Risely from BTO said: "We're calling on everyone who feeds wild birds to be aware of their responsibility for preventing disease."Simple steps we'd recommend include offering a variety of food from accredited sources, feeding in moderation, so that feeders are typically emptied every 1-2 days, the regular cleaning of bird feeders and rotation of feeding sites to avoid accumulation of waste food or bird droppings.

Read the full story at the Telegraph online


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