Are you also a garden bird feeding lover? please take special care when you are feeding the birds in the garden. There are many foods that can be proved as worse for the birds. We have regularly seen many dead birds around us. These can be due to worse food like spoiled bread, old nectar, pesticides, raw meat, honey, and cookies. So, Please make sure your garden is safe from all these types the foods.
welcome to the forum Melissa :)
With the long period of cold we just had, several dead birds were reported to me and the ones that I either checked or were checked by someone else, had died do to burning more calories than they could consume. I do agree with that list, but the birds dying of late in the area subjected to the vortex, weren’t necessarily dying from bad food.
it can be quite macabre, but opening the crop (~gut) of dead birds can be really informative. There are plenty of species for which their diet isn’t really well understood. Vehicle and window collisions are leading causes of death over at the Dead Birds project – either of those might have a moderately natural diet. It would be interesting to see if many of the dead bird obs without obvious injury had been eating bad food.
@neylon it sounds like in your area there might have been a lot of empty crops. Winter is a hard time to keep up with caloric demand.
To your list, I would like to add spoiled seed and dirty feeders.
Seed that sits in feeders too long or gets wet can grow salmonella, mold, or fungus that can sicken birds. It’s pretty important to regularly clean out the old seed and wash your feeders (avoiding harmful chemicals) to keep birds healthy and avoid spreading disease.
Yeah that’s a project that regularly submit to (unfortunately), and yes roadsides are where I find most of my submissions.
Right now, there are dead Pine Siskins around bird feeders for reasons that have nothing to do with bad food. It’s Salmonella infection. The Pine Siskin population got big up north and then the winter seed crop there failed and the birds have come south by the thousands. Crowded where the food is (feeders) they spread the disease easily. Stressed by the lack of food and the travel, they’re vulnerable. We’re reading recommendations to take down feeders for a while or clean them frequently.
Although I am not able to verify Salmonella as the cause, I have seen the increased numbers of Siskins here and witnessed sick and dead ones here in Victoria, BC, Canada. We too have been warned of this and to be vigilant with regards to feeder hygiene. Because I don’t feel I can keep on top of this I have taken down my two feeders that usually have chipped sunflower seeds. Since the warning I have only put them up again when we had snow for a few days. I have continued with a reduced loading of my homemade suet log using bark butter. Plus I have hanging mesh bags with suet sticks. The Siskins do not go for these.
articles on the salmonella outbreaks affecting pine siskins:
Thanks @stevestevens the first article that you gave a link to
had well laid out directions on cleaning feeders, cleaning bird baths, and also keeping yourself safe.
I feed chipped sunflower seeds, too. I took my feeder down for two weeks, put it up for a bit and took it down for another week. I’m cleaning it when it empties. I’ve only seen one dead siskin since, versus 12 before I first took it down.
Putting the feeder up is further reduced because a raccoon has learned how to access it, so I take it down at night. Observations https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/69829662 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/69998769
I agree; those links were very helpful and great reminders that this is stuff we should be doing regardless of irruption and outbreaks. Thank you for posting them.
A bit different thread than I thought it would be. I had expected it to be about foods that actually are not that good for people either. I have been in places where you can’t make observations of natural behavior of Gray Jay, because when they see a human, they switch to hanging around for handouts. And many of those handouts have been junk food like chips, cheese puffs, or white bread.
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