If you have a bird feeder in Burnaby, local wildlife advocates have some urgent advice for you.
The Burnaby-based Wildlife Support Centre says it has admitted 78 Pine Siskins birds from across Metro Vancouver due to a potential and rapid outbreak of something called salmonellosis.
“Pine Siskins, a songbird found in the Lower Mainland are common to suffer from salmonella and the disease can spread because of its congregating behaviour in backyard feeders during the winter,” says a news release. “Once a bird is infected, mortality rates rapidly increase among all birds who contact the feeder. Distressed birds must be handled safely and with care to prevent the spread through animals and humans.”
Wildlife Rescue says it is working with Canadian Wildlife Services to confirm the disease.
“If you witness a sick bird, it is imperative to take the feeder down immediately for at least 14 days to prevent flocking. This will help to disperse the birds and limit their exposure to the concentrated feeder,” said Janelle Stephenson, Wildlife Rescue Hospital manager.
Wildlife Rescue suggests cleaning all bird feeders once a week with a 10% bleach solution to kill the spread and kill salmonella, and rinsing with water afterwards. The other option is to encourage natural feeding behaviours by removing the feeder before the winter months. If you find sick or infected birds, call the Support Centre at 604-526-7275 for safe-handling procedures to bring the animal in for assessment and removal.