are birds getting sick from feeders

If you are a wildlife rehabilitator:

When accepting sick birds, wildlife rehabilitators should take care to prevent unintentionally exposing the other patients to HPAI. Here’s further guidance for rehabbers, from USDA APHIS. For additional information, rehabbers in New York State are also urged to get in touch with the Cornell Wildlife Health Lab.

What do I do if I see a sick bird?

You may occasionally spot a sick bird at your feeder because feeders allow you to observe birds up close and because sick birds tend to seek out easy meals. Legally, wild bird treatments can only be provided by veterinarians or federally licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Never attempt to care for a bird on your own if you see it to be weak in any way, possibly from illness or trauma. Most wild birds are illegal to own unless you are working with someone who is authorized to care for them.

In order to make sure that disease is not spreading at your feeders and to give birds time to disperse, we advise you to remove the feeders that a sick bird is using for a few weeks whenever it visits. Make sure to thoroughly clean both the feeder area and the feeders while they are down. Recall that stopping the spread of disease is primarily dependent on prevention. Maintain regular feeder cleaning even in the absence of any symptoms of illness.

For more information on diseases affecting wild birds, contact the National Wildlife Health Center in the U.S. or the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre in Canada. If you find a bird that you believe needs intervention to survive, contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area. The Humane Society website provides contact information for rehabilitators in the U.S. by state. The Nature Canada website provides contact information for rehabilitators in Canada by province.

House Finch Eye Disease

The eye disease known as Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, or House Finch eye disease, causes red, swollen, runny, or crusty eyes in birds. In severe situations, the bird’s eyes swell shut and it becomes blind. Mycoplasma gallisepticum is the bacterium that causes House Finch eye disease. Although this bacterium has long been recognized as a danger to domestic chickens and turkeys, it has only been linked to House Finches since 1994. Numerous other species have also been impacted by the disease, such as the Purple Finch, Evening Grosbeak, and American Goldfinch. Learn more about House Finch eye disease.

Two forms of avian pox exist. On the featherless parts of the body, such as the area around the eye, the base of the bill, and the legs and feet, wart-like growths are more common. Plaques on the mucosal membranes of the mouth, throat, trachea, and lungs cause breathing difficulties and difficulties feeding in the second form.

There are multiple pox virus strains that can cause avian pox, which has been documented in at least 60 bird species, such as sparrows, turkeys, hawks, and owls. Direct contact with infected birds or contaminated surfaces can transmit the virus (e g. , feeders) or by ingestion of contaminated food or water.

Salmonellosis is caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Salmonella. Although it is a frequent cause of feeder bird mortality, the symptoms are not always evident. Sick birds may have swollen eyelids and appear emaciated or plump. They are often lethargic and easy to approach. Even though they may not exhibit any symptoms, some infected birds are disease carriers that can infect other birds.

Although it can also spread through bird-to-bird contact, the main way that salmonellosis is spread is through sick birds’ excrement contaminating food and water sources. Periodically, epidemics of the illness result in notable deaths among specific species, such as American Goldfinch, Common Redpoll, and Pine Siskin.


Are bird feeders OK now?

So if you enjoy feeding backyard birds, go ahead. Clean and disinfect bird feeders regularly and wash your hands afterward. Clean bird feeders every month with a solution of nine parts water to one part bleach to help get rid of bacteria and mold in plastic, ceramic and metal feeders.

Do bird feeders make birds sick?

The Salmonella bacteria are spread at feeders contaminated by feces, or by eating feed off the ground. Salmonella bacteria can also cause illness in humans and domestic animals. Sick birds cannot swallow feed because of an infection in the throat. Sick birds may starve to death.

Is it safe to feed birds from a bird feeder?

When birds mix at feeders, they’re not super neat. Along with birdseed, they also pick up and share bacteria and waste. Across the country, feeders have helped spread conjunctivitis in house finches; the eye disease impairs their vision, making it hard for them to detect predators and feed.

Why are birds dying around my bird feeder?

One disease preventative measure that is often overlooked is removing any sharp or rough edges found on feeders. Scratches or cuts caused by these edges can be easily infected with viruses and bacteria. If you regularly feed birds, you will invariably spot a sick or dying bird at your feeders.