DEC Reports: Salmonellosis Affects Redpoll Birds Throughout New York State
By Tony Farina
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) confirmed that Salmonellosis, an infection with the bacteria Salmonella, has been the cause for mortality in common redpoll birds throughout the state during the last few months.
Salmonellosis is associated with birdfeeders. The organism can be spread from bird to bird through direct contact, or through ingestion of food or water contaminated with feces from an infected bird.
Common redpolls and pine siskins are sensitive to salmonella infection; however it can also affect other feeder birds including American goldfinches and other finches. Salmonellosis can spread among birds through contact with the feces of infected birds. Birdfeeders and the seed on the ground around them can become contaminated with feces which results in the spread of the pathogen. Sick birds can be identified by their lack of activity and reluctance to fly.
New Yorkers can help curtail the spread of salmonellosis by removing, emptying and disinfecting feeders with a 10-percent bleach solution. Seed on the ground beneath feeders should be cleaned up and discarded. Salmonellosis is a pathogen that can affect other species. Dead birds should be handled with gloves, then double-bagged and discarded in the garbage.
Common redpolls (Acanthis flammea) are small songbirds that are members of the finch family. They travel in flocks and are an occasional winter visitor in New York. This winter there was a large influx of redpolls to backyard bird feeders.
Their summer months are spent in Canada and areas north of New York.
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