|Full Name||Island Wildlife|
|Location||Salt Spring Island|
During the past week, Island Wildlife has received some pine siskins displaying symptoms of salmonella infection, from Isabella Pt/Beaver Pt rd, Alders/Charlesworth, Booth Canal/Harrison Av, Sunset/Channel Ridge, Beddis/Price rd, Rainbow rd and South Bank drive.
Salmonellosis is primarily transmitted by fecal contamination of food and water by birds, though it can also be transmitted 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.
Larger than usual flocks of siskins are visiting the Gulf islands this winter, putting them at higher risk when they aggregate. Salmonellosis is difficult to treat in birds and siskins are extremely vulnerable to this disease.
Removing feeders used by siskins is the ideal solution. This encourages birds to disperse, thereby minimizing the potential for infection.
If you have bird feeders, here is what you can do to help:
-Closely watch the siskins visiting your feeders. Sick birds will appear inactive, too weak to fly away when approached, sometimes “fluffed up”. If you notice any sick (or dead) siskins please call us right away at 250-537-0777.
-Clean and disinfect your feeders at least once a week. Clean with soap then soak for 10 minutes in a 10% bleach solution (9 parts water/1 part bleach). Rinse thoroughly and dry completely before using it again. Refill with fresh seeds. Clean your birdbaths as well. If you are unable to clean your feeders and birdbaths regularly as described above and have siskins around, please disinfect and remove them for at least 2 weeks.
-Clean the ground below your feeders by removing uneaten seeds and fecal matter daily.
-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 removing platform feeders, or feeders where seeds are easily contaminated with feces. Replace them by tube feeders or any feeder where birds don't step in their food.
-If you find sick or dead pine siskins, disinfect and take down your feeders for at least 2 weeks, ideally until the flocks of siskins leave our area.
To report any sick or injured pine siskins, or any wildlife in distress, please contact Island Wildlife at 250-537-0777.
Thank you all for caring about wildlife and helping pine siskins and other flocking birds!