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Salmonella could be killing birds at feeders


"Homeowners in certain parts of the United States are finding an increasing number of dead birds at their backyard feeders. The likely culprit is a strain of salmonella that is being passed among the birds."

Salmonella bacteria can be found in rotting seeds in bird feeders and those that fall to the ground. The bacteria is then transmitted through the birds' droppings.

Homeowners can help stop the bacteria's spread by cleaning feeders with a solution of one part bleach and 10 parts water. Hydrogen Peroxide is also an idea. Residents should rake up old seeds from the ground and spread one-quarter inch of lime underneath the feeders. The lime may harm the grass, but it will kill the bacteria. Move the feeder to a different part of the yard if sick or dying birds are present.

Dead birds should be picked up with gloved hands and disposed of immediately.

Remember, birds will also flock to a clean feeder much more often than a dirty one - an added benefit of keeping the backyard feeders a bit cleaner this year.

It's important to make sure the food in birdfeeders is fresh. Seed and other food can become spoiled and develop mold rather quickly. Rotting food can attract harmful pathogens, so be sure to change it out frequently if necessary.

Finally, Avoid Overfeeding:

Too many birds together is unnatural, unsanitary, wasteful and dangerous to birds. Viewing only a few birds is more appealing than a bunch of noisy fighting birds. It is best to cut them off occasionally. They will find feed elsewhere and come back when you feed again.

This will promote independence and make them more resourceful, smarter, and healthier.
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