Salmonella-related small songbird deaths in feeders

Small songbirds are dying in the south of the island and elsewhere in the province from an outbreak of salmonella linked to birdbaths and feeders.

Pines, nomadic finches with sharp beaks and yellow edges on their wings and tails, were a common sight during the winter months, in search of food sources.

But B.C.’s Wildlife Rescue Association and Wild ARC are reporting an increase in the number of sick and dying tigers from salmonella and are asking people to remove – or at least clean – their feeders and baths to contain the disease. .

Wallis Moore Reid of Wild ARC said 12 pine sisels were introduced in December and 16 have been delivered to the Metchosin plant so far this month. None were reported last year.

Salmonella-related small songbird deaths in feeders

Many more probably die unnoticed.

The situation was worse in the lower part of the continent, where the B.C. The Wildlife Rescue Association reported 127 sick siskins in 2020, including 75 last month. So far in January 36 sick puppies have been brought in

Moore Reid said there was not much that could be done to take care of the health of the birds.

“Due to the severity of the outbreak, none of the siskins have survived so far,” Moore Reid said Friday. “It is a serious disease and the survival rates are low.”

According to the B.C. Wildlife Rescue Association, salmonella attacks the digestive system, making it difficult for birds to feed, and is transmitted through fecal contamination of food and water, in addition to contact with other birds.

Affected pine babies appear fluffy and lethargic.

Since bird feeders and baths can spread disease quickly, people are advised to remove or clean them regularly with soap and water and then 10% bleach solution before using. rinse and dry them.

They also warn that salmonella is contagious to humans and pets, and that seeds and droppings should be carefully cleaned up and discarded.

Goldfinches vary across Canada throughout the year, usually in large numbers, and have sporadic migratory patterns. Bird watchers say that in recent years there have been huge herds, while they are rarely seen in other years.

Bird feeders leading to a deadly salmonella outbreak in Delta

Jennifer Keskula would like to echo a call from the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC: Please remove your bird feeder from the yard.

For the sixth time in the past two months, the Boundary Bay resident has found a dead pine grove under a Douglas fir in her beautifully manicured yard.

“Every once in a while a bird of any variety can fly into your window because we have such beautiful views here and many of us have windows in all of our homes so I had a lot of hard to put on the stickers for the birds that I saw and I even had a bird net on my glass patio, ”Keskula explained. “When I found a dead bird further from the windows, I started to wonder why?”

What Keskula learned was an alarming trend far beyond his neighborhood.

The British Columbia Wildlife Rescue Association said it has admitted 78 pine finches from the Metro Vancouver area due to a potential and rapid outbreak of what is known as salmonellosis.

“Pine Siskins, a songbird found in the Lower Mainland, often suffers from salmonella and the disease can be spread due to its congregational behavior in backyard feeders during the winter,” a press release read. “Once a bird is infected, mortality rates increase rapidly among all birds that come in contact with the feeder. Afflicted birds should be handled in a safe and careful manner to prevent their spread to animals and humans. ”

Wildlife Rescue says it is working with the Canadian Wildlife Service to confirm the disease.

“If you witness a sick bird, it is imperative to turn off the feeder immediately for at least 14 days to avoid grouping. This will help disperse the birds and limit their exposure to the concentrated feeder, ”said Janelle Stephenson, director of Wildlife Rescue Hospital.

Wildlife Rescue encourages natural feeding behaviors by removing the feeder before the winter months and turning it over when warm weather returns in spring.

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