Date: 4/5/21 2:54 pm
From: Paul and Georgean Kyle <dwa...>
Subject: [texbirds] Re: Pine siskins and feeders
For what it is worth, Georgean and I found at least two dozen dead Pine
Siskins at Travis Audubon's Chaetura Canyon Sanctuary in northwest
Travis County before, during and after the Polar Vortex event.  We saw
many more that exhibited the symptoms of illness - fluffed up feathers,
lethargy, foraging on the ground unable to fly, roosting during the day
with their heads tucked, etc.  The findings / sightings tapered off
slowly after the event.   Now the few PISIs we see seem to be healthy
and feeding on insects in the Live Oaks.

I suppose we should have collected specimens and submitted them. But
with the power out we were self-absorbed and concentrating on keeping
the wood stoves burning.


On 4/5/2021 4:06 PM, Keith Arnold wrote:
> An interesting topic, for sure. Two points: small songbirds have a
> life expectancy of 1.5 +/- o.25 years; in a large populations, birds
> die from several causes, including old age. I have had small birds die
> as I took them from a mist net - very likely from stress.
> I’m not down-playing salmonella; it can be a serious local problem.
> That said, birds die. It’s good to have those results from the F&W lab.
> Keith
> On Mon, Apr 5, 2021 at 2:46 PM John Blackwell
> <john.a.blackwell51...> <mailto:<john.a.blackwell51...>>
> wrote:
> Thanks to all for the responses. I had stopped filling my feeders
> regularly but will return to normal now.  I felt caution was in
> order until we had more data. Now we do. Thanks again.
> John A. Blackwell
> Columbus, Tx. Colorado County
> On Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 12:15 Brush Freeman <brushfreeman...>
> <mailto:<brushfreeman...>> wrote:
> So glad you said "in some parts of the country"   A recent
> report from LSU showed that numerous bird bodies, including
> perhaps from the Austin region,  tested for salmonella showed
> no traces of the disease in any of the samples of siskins and
> goldfinches they analyzed and that the quick deaths of these
> birds do not indicate such a reason.  They did not however
> know/say what to contribute the deaths too.  Others elsewhere
> postulate that there may be poisons or toxins in the various
> feeds.  I don't know but remain skeptical of the local
> salmonella proposal.  My feeders remain up with lots of
> finches and not a single sign of any fatalities since the big
> freeze.  For the Austin area, one should follow their
> conscience in terms of leaving feeders up.   I personally
> would like to see clinical proof of this reported malady for
> the Central Texas region instead of Facebook posts and hearsay
> before I completely buy into this.     I have posted Paul's
> letter previously to Texbird FB and elsewhere.  Thanks, John.
> On Mon, Apr 5, 2021 at 10:50 AM John Blackwell
> <john.a.blackwell51...>
> <mailto:<john.a.blackwell51...>> wrote:
> I had a lot of pine siskins in the winter as did many
> others. I'm now getting droves of them in spurts. They
> last a day or less and then another bunch comes in a day
> or two later. My question is about feeders in our area
> with respect to the salmonella outbreak in some parts of
> the country.  Is there much evidence of it around here and
> other than normal good cleaning practicing should
> additional measures be taken? I thought I would ask
> directly as I hadn't seen much local commentary on the topic.
> John A. Blackwell
> Columbus, Tx. Colorado County
> --
> Brush Freeman
> Utley & Cedar Park, Texas

Paul and Georgean Kyle

Sanctuary Stewards
Travis Audubon's
Chaetura Canyon Sanctuary

Project Managers
Chimney Swift Conservation Association

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