Salmonella Outbreak

Do you have sick or dead birds at your feeder? You are not alone!

In the early months of the year, Salmonella is a common problem at birdfeeders, however sometimes we experience a significant outbreak.


Salmonella outbreaks can be the cause of mortality for some bird species such as siskins, goldfinches and redpolls and the symptoms are not always obvious:

  • A sick bird may appear thin, fluffed up, have swollen eyelids and fecal material on its vent.

  • Infected birds are often lethargic and easy to approach.

Some infected birds may show no outward symptoms at all but are carriers of the disease and can spread the infection to others.


Salmonellosis is primarily transmitted through fecal contamination of food and water. It may also be transmitted through bird-to-bird contact.


What You Can Do


Birdfeeder management and good hygiene is the best way to deal with an outbreak:

  • Remove feeders immediately. Do not put feed out for birds.

  • Wear gloves when picking up the dead carcasses and dispose of safely.

  • Clean your feeders and birdbaths with water and a 10 percent bleach solution to kill bacteria.

  • Rake the ground surrounding the feeders.

  • Wait at least two weeks before reinstalling feeders (or until sick birds are no longer being reported in your area)

If you resume feeding birds (after the outbreak):

  • Discourage large flocks of birds from gathering in one location to reduce disease transmission.

  • Rotate feeders to new locations.

  • Remove platform feeders that allow contact between food and fecal materials.

  • Clean your feeders with bleach and water several times per week.

  • Be sure feeders are dry before filling with seed.

For more information, please contact North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre at 250-248-8534.

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