Surrey, British Columbia

Salmonellosis in Pine Siskins

 

We are currently experiencing huge populations of Pine Siskins ( a small brown finch with yellow striping on the wings) which occurs every two to three years.  Huge flocks of Siskins are in the lower mainland and throughout Western North America and  are seen at feeders and in backyards.  In dense flocks such as this, these finches are more susceptible to  disease outbreaks such as salmonella and can be spread through infected birds droppings especially where birds congregrate and roost.

 

 

As we do have such large populations of the Siskins, it is very likely you will see these finches at your feeders.  They will appear docile, fluffed up and listless and usually will succumb to their illness within a few days.

 

If you do have sick birds at your feeding stations, it is important to clean your feeders and trays every 1-2 weeks with hot soapy water and disinfect with a 10% bleach solution.  Be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry the feeder completely before re-filling with fresh seed.  Raking or sweeping the ground  under the feeders or where birds are roosting will also help to prevent further spread of the disease.

 

While it is upsetting to see ill birds at your feeders, it is nature's way of correcting over-populations and is  a natural process.