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Conservation IssueAvian

Pat Sziber

An outbreak of salmonellosis among birds in the northeast and midwest was confirmed early this year. Salmonella bacteria are transmitted primarily by fecal contamination in food and water. Although the infection is also spread naturally in the wild by bird and mammal droppings, it can be concentrated around feeding stations. Therefore, it is recommended that feeders and birdbaths be kept as clean as possible.

Please check your feeders for cleanliness and clean them often. The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, in their publication Birdscope, recommends cleaning feeders with a 10% bleach solution and cleaning up spilled and soiled seed. They further recommend wearing rubber gloves while cleaning feeders and washing hands thoroughly afterward. Some strains of Salmonella can infect humans. We recommend changing birdbath water daily and occasionally bleach-clean the bath as well. While away on vacation, if there is no one to keep up this regimen for you, empty and put away the feeders and bath.

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Last revision: Sunday, June 07, 1998