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A comment on Anthony Harris' article (ODT 1st October). I have been feeding silvereyes for many years and have noticed the same 'tumour' mentioned in your article.
This normally appears around late July/August when the population is greatest (I go through 18 litres of sugar water per day). It starts with just a few but quickly increases in number so I think it may be passed on through contact.
I clean my feeders daily, but within 6 weeks the population rapidly decreases, and by the time we reach September I am only going through a couple of litres of sugar water.
I mentioned this a few years ago to Forest and Bird and they thought it may be a bird virus, which is quite common and spreads quickly through the silvereye population due to their close contact with one another.
The tumours appear anywhere on their bodies, not just the face. They suggested removing infected birds, easier said than done!
I hope this helps, would love to know more as it is so sad to see them with this ugly, uncomfortable tumour.