The CDC is reporting a potential outbreak of salmonella in wild birds. New Hampshire has seen outbreaks in the past when we have had large irruptions of northern birds such as Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls. If you see a sick bird at your feeder (they are usually puffy and lethargic), take your feeders down, wash them with a mild solution of bleach and water, and leave them down for two weeks to encourage any large flocks to disperse or move back north. (Bears are out so it’s a good time to take them down for the season.) Certain strains of salmonella can be transmitted to pets and people. Keep pets away from any dead birds and wear rubber gloves when handling feeders where sick birds have been.
For more information, see NH Audubon’s Ask the Naturalist, under the diseases section (What should I do if I find a dead bird at my feeder?).
Photo: Bluebirds visit a bird feeder (Len Medlock).