Ditch the Bird Baths and Feeders

Bad news for bird lovers who enjoy lavishing food and water on their favorite visitors: If you really do love birds, you’ll take the bird feeders and bird baths down.

Those luxurious attractions are major vectors in the current spread of salmonellosis, a common and usually fatal bird disease caused by the salmonella bacteria. The result this winter has been a widespread die-off of songbirds all over the region — especially finches.

“The first indication of the disease … is often a seemingly tame bird on or near a feeder. The birds become very lethargic, fluff out their feathers and are easy to approach,” said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife veterinarian Kristin Mansfield. “Unfortunately, at this point there is very little people can do to treat them. The best course is to leave the birds alone.”

When the WDFW started hearing reports in January of ill and dead birds in the Seattle area, it recommended that people in that area discontinue using bird feeders and bird baths, according to communications manager Stacy Lehman. That led to a huge response from across the Western U.S., and realization that the problem was much bigger.

Now, Lehman said, guidance first intended for Seattle and vicinity is statewide. Western Washington residents are asked to stop using bird feeders and bird baths, at least through the end of this month.

~Information from the Columbian

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