Thursday, April 12, 2012
House cleaning-include bird feeders too
Just like your house, bird feeders need a spring cleaning too. The DNR says regularly cleaning and disinfecting feeders is as important as filling them and prevents salmonellosis, a bacterial disease that kills many small birds.
Salmonellosis occurs when food sources become contaminated with fecal matter. Since 1970, when this bacterial disease was first diagnosed in Michigan, die-offs around bird feeders have become more common and have been witnessed in many bird species throughout the world.
Observable signs of sick birds can include sudden death to a gradual decline of health over one to three days, accompanied by huddling of the birds, fluffed-up feathers, unsteadiness and shivering.
“We have received several calls from people who are finding dead goldfinches,” said Brian Piccolo, a DNR wildlife biologist based in Roscommon. “The best thing you can do is remove and clean your bird feeder.”
Learn more about salmonellosis and other wildlife diseases typically found in Michigan at the DNR website,www.michigan.gov/wildlifediseasemanual.