Wednesday, 23 November 2016

More beak deformities

I wrote a post last year about a great spotted woodpecker I saw in the garden with a severe deformity of the lower mandible.  I didn't see it again and I guess it didn't survive.  I have recently noticed two more deformities, both fairly minor.  This great tit in my garden should probably be OK so long as it doesn't get worse.  The upper mandible is elongated and slightly twisted to the right.

A couple of days later I noticed a very similar abnormality in a starling at Blyth.  Like the great tit, it appeared otherwise normal.

I have reported the great tit to the Big Garden Beak Watch, the BTO's survey of beak deformities (the starling isn't eligible as it wasn't in a garden).  In their results the great tit was the fourth most commonly affected bird after rook, blue tit and blackbird.  Starling was sixth after jackdaw.  Their data suggest there might be a geographical cluster of affected cases around Newcastle upon Tyne but numbers aren't big enough to confirm this.

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