CORVALLIS, Ore. - As you're welcoming wild birds into your yard this winter, be sure to keep your bird feeder clean and keep an eye on the health of your feathered diners.
"Sick birds will either be found dead or perched, often with feathers in disarray, eyes squinted or wings held out," said Dana Sanchez, a wildlife specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. "Healthy birds are alert and mobile, whereas sick birds stand out because they are neither of those."
Birds can get salmonella from bird feeders. Other diseases can spread when birds congregate or land on infected perches, Sanchez said.
"If the sick bird is associated with your feeders, take down the feeders and clean them," she said. "It is probably a good idea to keep the feeders down for two to three weeks, until the disease has had a chance to run its course in the local population. Allow the bird to recover on its own. Make sure children, pets and free-ranging cats cannot get to the bird."
Sanchez offered these tips to make sure your feeders are clean and free of mold for backyard visitors.
For more information about feeds and feeder placement, check out the following publication from the OSU Extension Service: http://bit.ly/WxaJgU.
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Dana Sanchez, (541) 737-6003