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S. Idahoans asked to remove bird feeders due to regional salmonella outbreak

The illness is common but a generally fatal bird disease
A female American goldfinch showing signs of salmonellosis in the Twin Falls area.
A female American goldfinch showing signs of salmonellosis in the Twin Falls area.(Sarah Harris)
Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 4:31 PM MST
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JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — An Idaho wildlife agency asks residents to temporarily remove bird feeders after reports of sick and dying birds in the northern part of the state.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game Magic Valley regional office said in a statement Tuesday, the illness appears to be salmonellosis, commonly known as salmonella, may have been detected in southern Idaho, too. The illness is common but a generally fatal bird disease.

Biologists ask those with bird feeders in their yards to stop feeding wild birds for at least a few weeks. Bird feeders attract wild birds in the wintertime. These congregation sites provide easy access for disease transmission.

The agency said the feeders should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and all spilled or soiled birdseed on the ground should be picked up and discarded.

“We all love to see wild birds come to the feeders in our yards” said Regional Diversity Biologist Lyn Snoddy, “but at times like this, we all need to collectively do what’s best for our wild bird population by removing and cleaning our feeders for at least a couple of weeks. This short-term effort will help stop the suspected spread of salmonellosis in southern Idaho.”

While bird feeders should always be cleaned on a regular basis with warm soapy water, a more rigorous cleaning is required during suspected outbreaks of salmonellosis. Feeders should be cleaned with a 1:10 ratio of household bleach to water. After soaking in the bleach solution, feeders should be rinsed and dried before refilling with seed.

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