Spencer's picture

Bad Feet 06.01.11

Observed: 6th January 2011 By: Spencer
Bad Feet 06.01.11 2011-01-06 002

Could someone please suggest what is wrong with his feet? and is it resolveable or can I help? This little fella has been attending my garden for a few months and noticed he always seems to sit down. As our local's are all filthy eaters and drop the expensive seed all over the floor, he's quite happy sitting there munching, then resting on the fence. He flies perfectly fine, but today at lunchtime, he hopped a few times and I noticed his feet. Took a snap (unfortunatley blurred a little through edge of window with reflection of frame on the glass) I checked through Bins to get a close look, and both legs and feet look like club feet. Pale and lumpy. As he's regular and my visitors all sit on the fence,gutters,arials in the morning when I feed them. He'll be used to me enough to allow me to net him (if I can get through the trees and bushes)
Chaffinch yes, don't know why i put sparrow (maybe as theres so many)

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) interacts


leenestofvipers's picture

chaff feet

From the RSPB
"Chaffinches are often seen with a parasitic condition known as bumble foot or a fungal attack called 'fur foot'. The infection is not directly fatal but it can cause a loss of agility and make the individual vulnerable to predators. Advanced infections can cause the loss of toes but there is evidence that the birds can recover naturally. I even received an image of a male chaffinch that had lost all his toes, yet the bird was clearly in good condition. Unfortunately, there is no way of treating wild birds even though there are treatments available for captive birds. "

Keeping your feeding stations clean should help with keeping infections at bay.

RHoman's picture

Further info



for more information on this.

Robert Homan

Deadpoet's picture

Alternative diagnosis

Hi Spencer,
it's difficult to see on the photo but seems likely to be avian pox virus in my opinion- can affect various species and I've seen great tits with quite unpleasant lesions on the head esp around eyes (which certainly increase the risk of predation etc). The point above about regular disinfection of feeding stations is spot on. The Garden Bird Health Initiative is the place to go for the best information on disease in garden birds (a protozoal infection in finches is a particular concern at the moment)- link below:


and a link to their factsheet about pox: