Recently, many members of the club have been reporting sightings of sick and dying Pine Siskins at their feeders. It is probable, based on reports elsewhere in the US and Canada, that we are having a local outbreak of a disease caused Salmonellosis. The disease can be spread by bird’s feces and at unclean feeders and birdbaths.
Signs of the disease are described as follows:
“… the symptoms are not always obvious. Sick birds may appear thin or fat and fluffed up and may have swollen eyelids. They are often lethargic and easy to approach. Some infected birds may show no outward symptoms but are carriers of the disease and can spread the infection to other birds.”
The photo of the bird above, taken by club member William Kurtz, shows what a sick Siskin looks like.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology recommends taking down your feeders for at least a week (other sources say at least two) if you see a sick or dead bird. They also recommend regularly cleaning feeders and birdbaths to help prevent this and other diseases and to clean up old seed spilled below your feeders.
For more information, please see their website.