According to Oregon Live, there’s been an outbreak of salmonella poisoning throughout the Portland metropolitan area as local residents are reporting more dead and dying birds around feeders.
While salmonella outbreaks are not widespread, isolated cases are common at the very beginning of spring when large clusters of birds are gathering together at bird feeders. Salmonella is spread when birds eat the fecal matter of infected birds below a feeder or even in the trays of the feeder. Infected birds are pretty noticeable because they look sickly and don’t fly very well.
If there’s an outbreak in your area, there are a few things you should do immediately.
Take down your feeders and thoroughly clean them and the area surrounding the feeders
Salmonella is not airborne, so there is no risk of you contracting the bacteria. If a lot of birds typically flock to your feeder and there’s an outbreak in your area, it might be a good idea to keep the feeder down for two weeks, especially if you’ve noticed sickly birds around your yard.
Keep your cats inside
While it’s a good idea to keep your cats indoors all the time to protect birds, cats are susceptible to contracting the bacteria because they can easily capture and consume the infected birds.
Report any sick-looking or dead birds to a local wildlife center
If you haven’t heard of an outbreak in your area but suspect some birds around your yard might have salmonella poisoning, you should immediately let the officials know, so they can take appropriate precautions.
Once food starts becoming more abundant from plants and other natural sources, birds will be less reliant on bird feeders and won’t be so tightly packed at the feeders. In about two weeks, the salmonella outbreak will usually subside as the birds disperse.
Regardless of whether there is an outbreak in your area, you should consistently clean your bird feeders and the area around them to ensure that you’re not aiding the spread of salmonella to even one bird.