|Full Name||Island Wildlife|
|Phone||250 - 537 - 0777|
Island Wildlife has recently received an unusually high number of sick pine siskins and finches displaying symptoms of salmonella and conjunctivitis.
Salmonellosis and conjunctivitis are highly contagious and deadly diseases for pine siskins and finches without treatment. The mortality rate with salmonella is extremely high even when treated.
These bacterial infections are transmitted by fecal contamination of food and water by birds and by bird-to-bird contact. Infected birds shed the bacteria in their feces, and if they are frequenting a bird feeder, the surface of the feeder or the food itself is likely to become contaminated with their feces. In this way, the feeder becomes a vector for the disease, spreading it to other birds.
If you have seed feeders and bird baths, here is what you can do to help:
--Look for sick birds: they will appear inactive, too weak to fly away when approached, sometimes “fluffed up”. If you notice a sick bird please call us right away at 250-537-0777.
-- If siskins or finches use your feeders, we urge you to remove your seed feeders completely during the whole breeding season or until the flocks are gone. The risk is just too high for siskins and finches right now.
To identify these birds, see the pictures above, call us or visit the website allaboutbirds.org for more photographs.
--Before storing your feeders away, clean them with soap then soak for 10 minutes in a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach/9 parts water). Rinse thoroughly and dry completely.
There is a lot of food available for them in the wild at this time of the year. They do not depend on feeders in the spring. Nesting season is starting, and the death of one or both parents would be catastrophic for their young. Disinfecting feeders is not enough for siskins and finches right now. Even a freshly disinfected feeder will put them at risk as soon as a sick bird returns. Sick birds do not leave a feeder as they are too sick to fly far away.
-- If siskins or finches use your bird baths: clean, disinfect and keep them empty. Cover them or store them away until the hot summer months.
--Clean the ground below your feeders by removing uneaten seeds.
--Wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after handling feeders or birds and keep your pets away - to avoid the risk of salmonella transmission.
--Consider discarding platform feeders which are the most harmful, as seeds are easily contaminated with feces. We do not recommend these feeders at any time of the year.
As much as we all enjoy seeing songbirds around, the best way to help siskins and finches right now is to remove the seed feeders to allow them to stay healthy.
To report any sick or injured pine siskins or finches, or any wildlife in distress, or for any question please contact Island Wildlife at 250-537-0777.
Thank you all for caring about wildlife and helping siskins, finches and other flocking birds!