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LOCAL News :: Environment & Food

Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis amongst our wintering populations of Pine Siskins.
There apparently is an outbreak of salmonellosis amongst our wintering populations of Pine Siskins, and DFG is asking residents to remove the feeders to limit the spread of the disease. Here is a link from the Department of Fish and Game with more information:

For those unaware of what a Pine Siskin looks like check out the following site:

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Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

Do these birds travel through the Monterey Bay Area?

Have you seen them in Santa Cruz?

Re: Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

One only needs to visit the Hawaiian Islands and study their ecological history to learn what a catastrophy has happened to native bird (and animal) populations when non-native species are introduced. When not slinging personal attacks at this webmaster and wasting our time, some contributors might better spend their time reading up on this, as it applies to California ecology. It seems that this, coupled with feral and outdoor roaming pets, would be a larger threat to California species of native plants, birds, and animals. Not the feeders.

Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

I've seen Pine Siskins at Bob's Pine Grove Campground on the edge of the City of Santa Cruz on Golf Club Drive. I have not seen them at my feeding station, but it is very possible that they would visit other feeders in the Santa Cruz area.


Bird feeders interfere with the natural feeding patterns of wild birds, discouraging the natural distribution of native plants via seeds in bird droppings, disturbing the delicate nutritional balance to which these native avians are accustomed (which can then impact their immune systems and BRING DISEASE LIKE THIS), in addition to addicting unknowning birds to the irregular and unreliable available of human-provided bird "food".

Your bird feeders are KILLING THESE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES in the name of your petty human pleasure and vanity. I have always been against these unnatural and disgusting mostrousities!

Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

Habitat loss kills huge numbers of birds and interferes with the natural feeding patterns of wild birds, as well as eliminating the native plants in cities that could be food. The appreciation of nature built through feeding birds is an appreciation that has also helped in preserving habitat, saving native plants, and preserving wild birds.

Bird food does not cause a decreased immunity, but lack of sanitary conditions can increase the spread of pathogens where birds are concentrated. I advise people to read the Department of Fish and Game's recommendations concerning keeping feeders clean and follow the recommendations of not feeding for a month if you visited by Pine Siskins.

Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

Steve, don't you know that off-trail hiking and off-road driving also build an appreciation of nature? Yet we forbid these activities in our beautiful wild lands because of their destructive impact when practiced by countless well-meaning but careless nature lovers.

Bird feeders, however harmless they seem on the surface, demonstrate an underlying ignorance or disregard for the delicate balance of nature. We must learn to tread lightly and with careful thought and wisdom, Steve, not act like children who greedily pluck the flower that catches our eye with no concern for conservation.

Please, everyone, take care when intervening in the web of life. Dont do it. There are better ways to love our mother earth and all the creatures of the wild without mankind's wreckless interference for personal enjoyment. Throw your bird feeders in the plastics recycling bin where they belong, to protect our avian friends!

Love to all life!

Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

Roaming pet and feral cats endanger human health, spreading rabies, roundworms, toxocariosis (liver parasite) and toxoplasma gondi, a parasite in cat feces (often deposited in gardens and sandboxes). It can kill AIDS patients and make pregnant women abort.

Cats are the only animal not covered by county Animal at Large laws. All other animal owners must either license, restrain and clean up after their animals.

• Cats are the single largest cause of bird mortality (Minnesota Ornithologist's Union)
• Cats kill more than SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION birds a year in the U.S. alone, exterminating 22 species (WorldWatch Institute)
According to the American Bird Conservancy:
• One third of cat owners already keep their cats indoors to keep them safe. Indoor cats can live 17 years while outdoor cats are often killed or die of exposure and live short lives.
• Accordint to an English study, Well-fed cats kill as often as hungry ones
• Cats were created by humans from a wild species. Like dogs, cats aren't wild animals.
• There are more than 100 MILLION cats in the U.S. Tens of millions are feral
• Roaming cats suffer from harsh weather, coyote attacks, diseases, parasites, wounds, — and cruel people who trap and sell them to research labs.

The American Bird Conservancy's National Cats Indoors campaign (202-234-7181 Ext 201 supports keeping pet cats indoors or using backyard catteries to keep outdoor or rescued feral cats and wildlife safe.

Catteries are large, roomy enclosures with sheltered sleeping areas, toys, climbing poles and litter boxes. You can build or buy them.
Backyard catteries can also save feral cat feeders time and money by:
• keeping cats safe and disease free
• controlling the number of cats each person can afford
• ending driving to cat colonies
• ending the expense of sterilizing fertile strays irresponsible people dump.

Cattery info.
Catteries: (Cat Fancy's Editor's Choice) C&D Pet Products 1-888-554-7387.
If you haven't got a cattery yet try giving your cat a CatStop
Its a bib made from soft material that attaches to the cat's collar. Kitty can still hunt, but CatStop comes between cat and bird! Safe for cats! Cat Goods, Inc. 743 Crest Lane Springfield, Oregon 97477.

Call the County Board of Supervisors (454-2200). Demand cats be subject to Animal at large laws!
If everyone kept pet cats indoors and feral cat rescue groups built enough catteries for ferals, every cat would have a home! Also, millions of birds and animals would be spared a needless death every year!
Every pet and feral cat should be rescued and treated with kindness.

Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

We have an unbending hater of bird feeders. I think that he/she is wrong. Potential problems mentioned are exaggerated and some are non-existent.

One of these problems he/she manufactures is how bird food will cause birds to stop eating and distributing native plant seeds.

The way he/she describes seed dispersal, however, applies to birds that eat berries, not those that eat the birdseed put out in feeders. The seed eaters that visit feeders crush seeds in their bills and digest those seeds, they do not distribute seeds through their digestive tracts.

Berry eating birds such as Mockingbirds and Robins continue eating berries and distributing seeds that way. These are birds that do not even eat birdseed at feeders. Unfortunately in cities like Santa Cruz the seeds these birds are distributing are non-native invasives such as Cotoneaster spp., Pyrocantha angustifolia, and Hedera helix.

Removing these plant species from yards and planting native berry producing shrubs such as Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) would help the preservation of native shrubs in the wild areas that wild birds inevitably travel to where they poop out seeds. It is a big difference having native species being distributed this way than non-native invasives.

Seed distribution also takes place with Scrub Jays and Stellers Jays hiding acorns and other seeds in the ground and sometimes not finding them all. With the numbers of Oaks coming up in my flower pots (with the nearest Oak tree not being close by) a can assure you that this behavior has not been altered by the free meals that I provide.

Nonnative pet cats and feral cats, the use of pesticides, and habitat destruction and habitat elimination threaten wild bird and plant populations. Properly maintained bird feeders do not. Please stop crying wolf and stick to issues that are important to the preservation of native plants and animals.

Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

This same thing happen a few years back. At that time it took about 2 or 3 weeks for the outbreak to pass. Mother Nature always wins when it comes to selection so I just do what I can to help her stay healthy. I have found two dead Pine Siskins today and know over the next couple of weeks there will be a few more. I belive this natural selection will happen if I feed the birds or don't. Keeping the feeding areas and feeders clean should be a normal action all the time not just during an ourbreak.
Best to you all. Good Birding.

Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

Bird feeders, with their concentration and continual availability of higher-quality grain compared to what is available in the wild, create a dangerous vector for spreading infection in the avian population the same way that cities breed disease in humans by bringing them all unnaturally together.
Where do you get off writing special exceptions for yourselves? Are you special now? Hello pot, meet kettle! Like it or not Steve you are part of your own problem and I would like to see you step up to the plate for once and take your own medicine instead of telling everyone else how to live their lives while never looking at your own. It's all well and good to tell other people how to live, but you stubbornly refuse to change one iota of your life? Change is hard, isnt it? So is admitting a mistake, especially when one has a messiah complex where the animal and vegetable kingdoms are concerned.

Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

What I have done here is posted a warning about cleaning feeders and asking those that get Pine Siskins at their feeders to stop feeding the birds for a month. I hope that these warnings are headed and help save birds.

In response to these warnings a whole series of falsehoods in the realm of bad science have been hurled. I have responded to these fully.

Now this person has made the correct point that it is the high concentration of birds gathering at feeders that can increase the spread of disease among birds and wants me to admit that I am wrong. I’m glad that he/she now finally gets the point of my original post, but where he/she differs from me is on what degree and form of action is needed to remedy the problem.

If the problem of bird feeders acting as vector for disease worsens I will change my position.

Generally feeding birds is harmless and even helpful to birds. None of the birds coming to my feeding station are dying. In addition I do not think that I would have the pair of California Brown Towhees rearing a brood of young here every year if it were not for the supplemental food I provide. There would not be enough food. This is due to the obsession people have with keeping grasses short on their property; which causes the grasses to never to produce any grain for birds to eat.

But alas, asking people to not mow their grass is seen by most Americans as absurd as never washing your dishes. That is one I will not even try; but planting native flower gardens, native shrubs and trees, and not using any pesticides is something that helps the environment without bringing on the wrath of neighbors.

It is nonnative pet cats and feral cats, the use of pesticides, nonnative birds, and habitat destruction and habitat elimination that destroy native bird populations. Properly maintained feeders generally do not. In fact, a person who is feeding birds is much more likely to become aware of these deeper problems and is more likely to do something about them.

In addition to the above threats, the pet bird trade is a huge problem for bird populations internationally. The pet trade could even drive some species to extinction as rarity makes a species even more expensive and profitable for smugglers. Captive bred parrots are all descended from birds taken from the wild and should never be bought because this only encourages the continued smuggling of wild birds. In addition, parrots are highly intelligent creatures that want to be flying over their jungle homes and freely socializing with fellow parrots, not sitting in cages and socializing with humans.

As for my "messiah complex" when it comes to "animal and vegetable kingdoms", it sounds to me like someone may still be upset about me pointing out what an extremely stupid thing it was to release nonnative European Fallow Deer on the Central Coast.

Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

The fallow dear were kept near a slaughterhouse. Activists have gone to board meetings in Monterey to try to get it shut down. Does anyone know of the status of the deer slaughterhouse?

Fallow deer are NOT native and someone posted infoi on their release-that the deer came back to the slaughterhouse area! Does anyone know whats going on now with this issue?

Deer meat has been known to harbor the same prions that cause mad cow disease and hunters have died in their 20s from eating deer meat. EWWWWW!
Its time to go vegan!

Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

The worst news on this European Fallow Deer issue is that ALF has refused to recognize that releasing nonnative species is a horrible mistake for the environment and the well being of other species.

As far as is known all of the European Fallow Deer returned home after munching on a little grass outside of their normal enclosure. Unfortunately it would only take a couple animals out of the hundreds released to begin the establishment of a new alien deer population.

Re: Bird Feeder Alert, Outbreak of Salmonellosis

Yes I have seen the birds


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