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

A student works in a science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary on Friday, March 12, 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
COVID-19 exposures at 2 Central Okanagan schools

Ellison Elementary and Ècole Kelowna Secondary School are reporting exposures

Nolan Foote becomes the 62nd Rocket to suit up in an NHL regular-season game on Sunday afternoon (Photo: Kelowna Rockets)
Former Kelowna Rockets captain plays first NHL game

Nolan Foote played his first game with the New Jersey Devils on Sunday

Pastor Cliff Siebert of the Okanagan Landing Community Church (centre) addresses some of his congregation in-person for the first time in many months Sunday, April 18, as the church held the first of what they hope will be regular outdoor services with COVID protocols adhered to and obeyed. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon church hosts outdoor service

Okanagan Landing Community Church put strict COVID protocols in place to hold sermon in back parking lot

The City of Armstrong has been named one of Canada’s 20 best towns to live based on low cost of living and high paying jobs, according to a survey by Numbeo. (Facebook photo/Rhythm Productions)
Armstrong lands among 20 best cities to live in Canada

Survey conducted based on low cost of living and high paying jobs; five other B.C. towns on list

Vernon Vipers forward Ryan Shostak (centre) fends off a check from Salmon Arm defenceman to get a close-in scoring attempt on Silverbacks goalie Owen Say during Vernon’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout victory Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

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

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

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

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

Most Read