Bird Feeders, Baths Need Regular Cleaning

Tips on how to clean your bird feeders and baths for bird lovers

VICTORIA – Bird lovers are encouraged to help protect bird populations and prevent the spread of infectious diseases through the regular cleaning of bird feeders and birdbaths. During spring, many small migratory songbirds are returning home from winter retreats to the south. Species such as pine siskins, redpolls and grosbeaks are commonly found in large flocks at this time of year. This can result in high-density congregations of birds around bird feeders and water sources such as birdbaths.

While this is a wonderful opportunity for birders, the increased density of the birds as well as the stress of weather and nutrition challenges can lead to the spread of serious and even fatal diseases among the birds, such as avian conjunctivitis, avian pox virus and salmonella  bacterium. Some diseases not only threaten local bird populations, but can spread to pets and people handling infected birds or contaminated materials.

The public can help maintain bird health and prevent the spread of these diseases through a number of simple measures. The most important thing people can do is to clean their bird feeders and birdbaths regularly. This should include replacing birdbath water every few days, and scrubbing and cleaning feeders and birdbaths as well as the area around them at least every couple of weeks. Other things bird lovers can do to help include:

* Spreading out multiple feeders to discourage crowding. Use smaller feeders that allow only one or two birds at a time, and that are made of plastic or metal, rather than wood.

* Keep the area under the feeders clean. Locating them above cement will make this task easier.

* If you see one or two diseased birds in your area, take your feeder  down immediately and clean it.

* If you have more than three diseased birds in your area, encourage the birds to disperse for a while. Take your feeders down for a week or two, clean them well, and re-hang them.

* Consider letting your neighbours know so that they can take action too.

Identifying affected birds varies with the disease, but here are some common signs to look for:

* Birds with avian conjunctivitis have red, swollen, watery or crusted eyes, and may have trouble feeding. You may see them remaining on the ground near the feeder. This disease may be spread by feeders with small openings that birds rub the sides of their heads on.

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

* Birds with salmonella bacterium may be found dead or appear very tame and sit quietly for hours or days, often with their feathers fluffed out.

Salmonella can easily spread to pets or humans and so strict hygiene should be enforced in these situations.

 

Just Posted

Survey says: Port Hardy Fire Rescue deserves on-call pay

75 per cent of those surveyed were in favour of financial compensation for the fire department.

VIDEO: Incredible waves spotted at Cape Scott

Lighthouse keeper captures video of huricane force winds

Tyson’s Thoughts: Make Port Hardy great again with a new multiplex in 2018

Population growth means there should be more recreational activities for community members to enjoy.

VIDEO: Stormy weather at Storey’s Beach

Envirnoment Canada has issued a wind warning for Coastal British Columbia

RDMW pens letter asking Pacific Coastal to reconsider cancellations

Board raises concerns over loss of flights to the region

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Jury convicts spear-wielding Duncan man in 2015 Ladysmith RV park murder

Trever George Meers used a handmade spear to stab Rayna Johnson at the Campers Corners RV Park

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Kervin’s Corner: Our region’s communities heavily rely on the forestry sector — Let’s not change that for now

“Any transition out of our forest-based economy would take years along with careful planning…”

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Most Read