Date: 1/12/21 8:21 am
From: William Freedberg <4mrfish...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Got sick birds? Clean feeders quickly.
Hi Massbirders,

Madeleine's thread on sick siskins raises an important point. If you find a
sick bird in your yard, please immediately clean your feeders (and
birdbaths/artificial perches/etc.) thoroughly with a 1/10 bleach solution.
Some experts also recommend taking your feeders down for a couple of weeks,
although there is some debate around this online that is worth looking

Cleaning feeders regularly (at least monthly) even when birds are healthy
is important to prevent salmonella or conjunctivitis outbreaks. Some
suggest cleaning weekly during finch irruptions.

Mass Audubon has tips on keeping feeders clean and keeping birds healthy,
as well as general best practices:

The salmonella outbreak in the PNW is a great reminder that big finch
irruption years can result in disease outbreaks both among nomadic finches
and sedentary local birds. This link has tons of tips specific to different
feeder types, and breaks down the nuance behind whether or not to pause
feeding during an outbreak. I would note that the idea that "taking feeders
down could simply cause birds to move to other feeders, spreading the
outbreak further" remains untested, though it seems like an idea worth

If you pause feeding, don't worry about where your yard birds will find
food-- they are pros at this, and will be fine. Think of this as
encouraging social distancing!

Will Freedberg
Belmont, MA

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