Wildlife experts say that pine siskin birds (pictured) still carry the risk of salmonella infection. (File photo)

Wildlife experts say that pine siskin birds (pictured) still carry the risk of salmonella infection. (File photo)

Clean bird feeders regularly, or take them in, B.C. experts warn as salmonella persists

Winter salmonella concern among pine siskins still a threat

The Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. is recommending people with bird feeders refrain from putting them out until later in the spring to prevent an outbreak of salmonella among pine siskin birds, or monitor them closely and make sure they are cleaned regularly.

Wildlife technician Meghan Coughlan said the Burnaby-based association was inundated with pine siskins, songbirds that are very small with sharp, pointed bills and short, notched tails, suffering from salmonella in January, then the numbers started to drop off but have rebounded again in recent weeks.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN VALLEY RESIDENTS WITH FEEDERS CAUTIONED TO WATCH FOR SICK BIRDS

“That’s why we’re being cautious in telling people about what to do with their bird feeders,” she said.

“If people have not seen any pine siskins in their yard that are sick or dead for at least two weeks, they can put their bird feeders out, but clean them at least once a week with soap and water, and then disinfect them with a 10 per cent bleach solution. If you see any sick or dying pine siskins after that, take down the bird feeders for at least two weeks to allow the flock to disperse. It’s at people’s discretion to put them up, but waiting for spring would be more advisable.”

Hummingbird feeders can stay up, but should be cleaned regularly.

RELATED STORY: CLIMATE CHANGE THREATENS EXTINCTION FOR MOST BIRDS, ESPECIALLY IN CANADA: REPORT

Pine siskins breed in northern boreal forests, but range over much of North America.

It’s believed by many in the bird community that pine siskins have come down from the northern forests in larger numbers than usual this year because of an insufficient cone crop in those forests to feed them.

Some have salmonella and they are flocking in large numbers at people’s bird feeders, which is causing the salmonella to spread quickly among them because the disease is highly contagious among flocking birds.

“Once a bird is infected, mortality rates rapidly increase among all birds who contact the feeder,” the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. said in a news release in January after they admitted 78 of the birds from across Metro Vancouver who are suffering from the disease.

“Distressed birds must be handled safely and with care to prevent the spread through animals and humans.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

birds

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read