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Feeders contributing to salmonella outbreak in B.C. birds: Wildlife rescuers
Global News | Jan 06, 2021 | Full article: ... -bc-birds/

Synopsis: Due a salmonella outbreak and increased cases of sick pine siskin in metro Vancouver, Wildlife Rescue Association of BC is recommending that feeders be taken down.


Salmonella outbreaks are not new to feeders however with the irruption of pine siskin this winter in urban areas as well as more people putting out feeders to attract wild birds, the congregation of avian species at feeders may be helping to spread the bacteria. Pine siskin are more at risk because they flock in large numbers, and an infected individual can quickly spread the bacteria to the flock.

If you choose to feed wild birds, please run a responsible feeder to help keep the birds safe and healthy. The best choice right now is not having a feeder however putting out a well maintained feeder provides a better alternative to those who put out neglected feeders.

Some feeder tips:
  • Keep your feeders clean and dry to limit the spread of bacteria.
  • Choose wood over plastic, preferably Cedar wood feeders due to the antibacterial properties (and make sure the feeders have good drainage.) Stainless steel is another good option as bacteria can't penetrate into its pores, so when cleaned, it does not harbour colonies of bacteria.
  • When cleaning, soak in mild concentration of bleach, use dish soap or put the feeder in the dishwasher. Clean at least once a week, or better, each time a full feeder has been depleted.
  • Catch the seed debris and rake/sweep the ground area regularly. Don't let seed hulls and debris accumulate.
  • Locate the feeder in a place that will stay dry, or dries fast after the rain (good air flow).
  • ... and finally, schedule feeder breaks to limit the crowd habituation to the feeder. The birds will find other food sources.
One further tip, locate the feeder right next to a window, this actually helps reduce window strikes.

More information on feeding birds from Cornell University


If you have any other tips, or thoughts, please share.

Cheers and good birding,
Hi all, Here are some things I did to prevent the spread of salmonellosis this year.

- I scaled back on the number of feeders I put out at a time.
- I also started using more seed bells and other food that can be used without a feeder of a cage.
Happy birding

- Adam
I feed suet most of the time so no mess to clean up. I only feed loose seed when I am sitting out on the patio to keep the squirrels away. Although it wasn't specifically intended to prevent Salmonella it would help.
I just went out on the patio and found a dead Pine Siskin under my suet feeder :cry:. I don’t think it was due to my feeder but as a precaution I’m going to take it down, wash and disinfect it. I don’t get many Pine Siskins at my feeders; I only saw 1 in all of last year and now this one.
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