If you are seeing birds with any of the symptoms described above, leave your feeders and baths down for a minimum of 3-4 weeks. This allows the local birds to redistribute naturally into the environment and lowers the risk of congregation and spread of the disease. In light of the severity of the current Salmonellosis Outbreak, The Bird Rescue Center strongly recommends you remove all feeders and baths from your yard until late spring when the Pine Siskins will be migrating north again for the breeding season.
Risk to Humans and Domestic Animals
Salmonellosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transferred from animals to humans, and vice versa. In avian species, salmonellosis is oftentimes fatal; however, in mammalian species, such as ourselves and our 4-legged companions, Salmonellosis often presents as “food poisoning”. Common symptoms include acute abdominal pain, diarrhea (sometimes containing blood), vomiting, weight loss, or fever. Severity of symptoms can vary widely, but many humans/mammals infected with the disease will not get sick and those that do become symptomatic often require no medical treatment beyond rest and hydration.
If you find a sick bird, please do not hesitate to help it!
If you are diligent about washing your hands after you capture the animal and/or handle potentially contaminated equipment, there is a very small risk of infection. Additionally, the use of latex-style disposable gloves can be worn to eliminate direct contact.
That said, parents of young children and/or owners of free-roaming cats or outdoor dogs, please take note. Your loved ones are at risk of contracting Salmonellosis if they have free access to potentially infected equipment (i.e., feeders and baths) or dropped seeds. Furthermore, pets—primarily free-roaming cats—that hunt infected wild birds can contract the bacteria. This is one of many good reasons to always keep your cats indoors or contained in a catio. It is also a good incentive to follow our recommendation for fully removing your feeders and baths if you find a sick bird in your yard. Your wildlife, pets, and loved ones will all thank you for keeping their safety in mind!