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

Forward Elan Bar Lev Wise of the West Kelowna Warriors (right, shown playing for the Vernon Vipers in 2019) has been suspended nine games by the B.C. Hockey League for being the instigator and aggressor in an after-the-game fight with Vernon’s Kjell Kjemhus Monday, April 12, at Kal Tire Place. Kjemhus was given a two-game suspension for his role in the fight after the game was over. (Morning Star - file photo)
West Kelowna Warriors forward handed lengthy suspension

Elan Bar Lev Wise fought Vernon Vipers forward Kjell Kjemhus after BCHL game was over Monday, April 12; Kjemhus suspended two games

Vernon residents were able to bring propane fire pits down to Polson Park, between Jan. 25 - April 5 to enjoy with their family bubble, similar to those provided for residents at Predator Ridge. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Fire pits a flop in Vernon’s Polson Park

City spends estimated $2K on temporary program, few, if any take advantage; option closed now

Sheila Derbyshire dressed up as a scary clown to surprise her daughter, Talyn, at Len Wood Middle School in Armstrong April 12, 2021, for her 13th birthday. (Sheila Derbyshire - Contributed)
Armstrong mom sends in the clowns

‘Halloween freak’ celebrates daughter’s 13th birthday in style

Taxes are going up slightly for homeowners in 2021 to give businesses a break. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Tax shifts burden from Vernon businesses to homeowners

New rate for residential 2.67 per cent or $42 for average home

City of Armstrong community services manager and chief bylaw officer Warren Smith stands with the new food waste bin and garbage cart to be delivered to eligible residents later this month. (Brooke Hovey photo)
Armstrong changes waste collection system

Residents to be given new bins as part of the new system which goes into effect May 1

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 so far

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Conservation officers caught three men over fishing bull trout in Kinbasket Lake. (Facebook)
B.C. men fined $1.7K for overfishing near Revelstoke, Golden

The seized fish were donated to the Golden Food Bank

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021. (Kamloops This Week photo)
Clothing that ‘detracts from learning process’ removed from SD73 student dress code

Policy change underway after student in knee-length dress, long-sleeve turtleneck sent home

A shop up on Grand Oro Road near Twin Lakes burned down on Monday. (Facebook)
Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

WATCH: Conservation group releases short doc on saving South Okanagan’s ‘precious’ Sickle Point

Sickle Point, the last intact wetland near Skaha Lake, is facing the prospect of development

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Skaha Lake Middle School. (File photo)
COVID exposure at Penticton middle school

Skaha Middle School is the latest in growing lists of exposure in the Okanagan

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Most Read