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Sierra Wildlife Rescue

January 20 at 7:03 PM · 

This is an ALERT to our El Dorado County and nearby friends who enjoy feeding our wild birds: 

Sierra Wildlife Rescue has been receiving increased reports of sick and dead birds currently occurring in our county. Bird lovers are seeing dead birds, with no visible trauma, in their yards. When the weather turns cold, the energy demands on birds and other wildlife increases dramatically so lots of birds will congregate at your bird feeders which in turn increases the chance of disease transmission. Salmonella, E. coli and other bacteria along with viruses, parasites and fungal diseases are easily passed by the varied species of birds congregating at bird feeders. Pine siskins, nuthatches, chickadees, gold finches and other seed-eating backyard birds are some of the most common species affected by these diseases. The birds get infected at the feeders and pass the infection on when they come into contact with feeder surfaces, perches or visit multiple feeders.

Please note that DOGS and CATS can also become infected if these birds are ingested so please be aware (do not handle the dead bird without gloves). Animal Poison Control: 1 888-426-4435

To help avoid problems at bird feeders:

  • Take down feeders and stop feeding for several weeks to a month if there are bird deaths at your feeder or in your yard.
  • Provide fresh seed purchased recently. 
  • Use feeders made from non-porous material like plastic, ceramic, and metal. These are less likely than wood to harbor bacteria and other diseases. 
  • Clean feeders, water containers and bird baths monthly by rinsing with soapy water and then dunking the feeder in a solution of one third cup of chlorine bleach per one gallon of water.
  • Clean up old seed hulls and waste below the feeders by raking, shoveling, or sweeping material and discarding in the trash.
  • Spread your bird seeds over several areas or feeders as not to allow birds to congregate in one place.
  • Clean feeders more often (weekly) if you do have large numbers of birds at your feeders. (Information sourced from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) 
The California Fish and Wildlife has more information on their website. Please take a look. Wildlife Investigations Lab - Avian Investigations