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Are Feeders Causing Bird Deaths in Montana

Image courtesy of Purestock

An unusual number of dead birds have been found in Billings area yards. Are feeders to blame? As a home that keeps five feeders full, we sure wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to the little guys, including the personal favorite goldenfinch (pictured). But there is concern in the Billings area. Nearly all the dead birds red crossbills, a species of finch that normally feeds on conifer tree seeds. Speculation is the deaths were due to an avian salmonella, a naturally occurring bacteria, possibly originating from contaminated food and spread through feces. If you find dead birds in your yard, the suggestion is clean bird feeders with a solution of warm water and 10 per cent bleach. Rinse and air dry then avoid filling feeders for two to three weeks to encourage birds to disperse and feed naturally. In fact, the National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin suggests not feeding birds at all during warmer months, since anytime birds are concentrated unnaturally it hastens the spread of diseases. And during the summer months they don’t really need our help. I don’t know how I’m going to break the news to all those little feathered dudes in the front yard! DB

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