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

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Hotel Zed Tofino. (Westerly file photo)
Two Tofino businesses up for building awards

14th annual Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read