People who feed birds in the winter are asked to temporarily remove their bird feeders to prevent an outbreak of salmonellosis that’s killing birds across the West.
Officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said the fatal disease has been found in birds throughout Idaho. Wild birds which frequent feeders in winter can be especially susceptible to salmonellosis, according to Mike Demick with the Salmon Fish and Game office. Salmonellosis is transmitted through the droppings and saliva of sick birds. Outbreaks occur every few years. Pet owners are cautioned to keep their pets, especially cats, inside to make sure they don’t eat a dead infected bird.
To prevent more birds from dying from the disease, Fish and Game personnel ask that people stop feeding birds for a few weeks and that people deep clean their bird feeders before resuming feeding. It’s always important to keep bird feeders clean to avoid spreading disease, Demick said. Generally soap and water are adequate, but because of the salmonellosis outbreak, he suggests feeders be cleaned with a mixture of bleach and water — 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Feeders should be soaked in the bleach solution, thoroughly rinsed and dried before they are used again, he said.
People should wear gloves when handling the feeders, to avoid any possible transmission of the disease.