Clean bird feeders equals healthy happy song birds.

Clean bird feeders equals healthy happy song birds.

Crowded feeders a health risk for returning songbirds

Backyard bird enthusiasts should regularly clean their bird feeders and bird baths at this time of year.

Backyard bird enthusiasts should regularly clean their bird feeders and bird baths at this time of year, as migratory songbirds return from their winter retreats.

Species such as pine siskins, redpolls and grosbeaks congregate in large flocks in spring, and their close contact at a time of weather stress and nutrition shortage can pass diseases from bird to bird, says a bulletin from the B.C. forests ministry.

Cleaning feeders every two weeks and changing water in bird baths every few days can reduce the spread of avian pox virus, avian conjunctivitis and salmonella bacteria among birds. Using metal or plastic feeders rather than wood, and spreading out multiple small feeders that only allow one or two birds at a time also reduces the risk of disease transmission.

Wildlife biologists say these bird diseases can also spread to people handling infected birds or contaminated materials. Placing bird feeders over a concrete surface allows easier cleanup of litter underneath, which can also prevent spread of infection.

If you see one or two sick birds in your area, biologists advise clearing and scrubbing the feeder. If there are more than three diseased birds, take your feeder down for a week or two to encourage birds to disperse.

Here are some common signs to look for:

• Birds with avian conjunctivitis have red, swollen, watery or crusted eyes. Infection can be spread by feeders with small openings that birds touch with the sides of their heads. Infected birds may have trouble feeding and remain on the ground near the feeder.

• Birds with salmonella bacterium may be found dead or appear tame, sitting quietly for hours or days, often with their feathers fluffed up. Salmonella can easily spread to pets or humans, and so strict hygiene should be enforced in these situations.

• Birds with avian pox virus may have warty lesions on the unfeathered parts of their head, legs or feet.

 

Just Posted

Fire at the former Alpine Disposal, and now GFL recycling facility, on Hwy 22 South of Trail. Photo taken just before 6 p.m. Monday June 21. Photo: John Piccolo
Update: Industrial fire rages outside Trail on Monday

Photos: The fire is reported to be at the GFL recycling facility

Fruitvale Village Council outlined their Beaver Valley Middle School development plan to the community in September 2020. Photo: Jim Bailey
Province to fund Fruitvale affordable housing project

Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society will manage construction of 28 new housing units

Kootenay forests are unusually dry for this time of year. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
On summer’s cusp, Kootenay forests are at record dry levels

Southeast Fire Centre says 4 months of unusually dry weather have had effect on the region’s forests

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read