Advice on catching a sick finch


this is a rather unusual post. The long and short of it is that I have a house finch with eye disease at my frequently cleaned feeder. I’m cleaning far more often than even before now, but if I take my feeders down she will just go to other feeders in the area. I’ve contacted a rehabber and if I can catch her I can get her treatment and she will not be able to spread the disease again.

However they are very flighty. I’ve tried sitting at a distance quietly for a few days, but no birds even come near. My new plan is to set up a hide and try the basket stick and string trick, but I’ve never done this before. If any of you have, I’d appreciate the advice. I’m not resentful, but it’s taking up a lot of my time and I’m behind on work, so any tips are really appreciated! Thank you.

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You might consider trying a rat/squirrel live trap. I use one under my bird feeder to catch rats and have accidentally caught finches when I forgot to close the trap at first light. Sick birds often try to avoid the competition of the feeder by feeding on the spilled seed underneath.


That’s a good idea! She hasn’t got to that stage yet though the eye looks super bad. We have a platform feeder which might be why. I could set the trap with some favourite finch food, but I might also get other birds and I worry that will scare everyone away and I’ll lose my chance to catch her. Every day I fail is another day she gets sicker, so I’m very stressed about it :(

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I have had myself a few of those at time, the avian conjunctivitis is highly contagious and deadly if not treated. Try your nearest wildlife centre for help and advice on how to capture them. Myself, I usually used a long and larger butterfly net (that I made) or a fish net with transparent basket and stealthy walked toward the bird at a distance (I put feed on the ground). I try to walk on the side of the most affected eye keeping ground noise at a minimum, I have not rescue all of them that where sick but did rescue a few.

You are doing the right thing by cleaning up you feeder more often, also, if you have a few feeder, spread them away from one another to avoid large concentration of finches on one feeder.

Hope that help


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