Bird feeder reminder

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    As we transition from fall into winter, many of us have started to put our bird feeders back out. I’d like to remind everyone to be sure to clean your feeders with a mild bleach solution (no detergent) before doing so, and regularly (preferably weekly) throughout the season.

    Pine siskins are extremely vulnerable to salmonella, which can spread like wildfire from feeder to feeder. It only takes one contaminated feeder for the disease to be carried to all of the feeders in the area. I experienced this first hand last winter. Siskins were dropping like flies in my yard, and at first I blamed roaming cats- who were probably just snatching the weakened birds on the ground. Then one morning I found a dead siskin lying in the seed tray of the feeder. That’s when I did some research, and found out about this problem. I’d never heard of it before, but then, I’d never seen so many siskins!

    If you notice a dead bird (especially a siskin) and the death seems suspicious, the best thing to do is remove the feeder immediately and force them to forage elsewhere. They may just return to other possibly contaminated feeders instead, but it’s the only option for containment. I felt horrible and guilty when this happened, but there’s really no telling where the contamination originated.

    If you’re not familiar with Pine Siskins, they’re beautiful little birds with buff and yellow coloration, and black and white banded wings. They travel in little flocks, sort of like bushtits. I just put out my feeder a few days ago, and they appeared out of nowhere today. I’ll be keeping an eye on them. That’s the point, right?

    Happy birding!



    Thank you, anonyme! You inspired me to google “Pine Siskins” – very endearing little birds with a pretty song.

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