This year we have seen an irruption of pine siskins and other wintering birds feasting in flocks.
Read more about this phenomenon here: “This Winter Marks an Incredible ‘Superflight’ of Hungry Winter Finches”.
Unfortunately, a large number of the tiny birds are dying from salmonella poisoning that is passed on at backyard bird feeders, including here on the island.
This article explains why a BC wildlife organization is calling on people to remove their backyard feeders to stop the deadly outbreak: “Tiny B.C. birds are dying from salmonella outbreak linked to backyard feeders”.
Please consider removing your bird feeders to avoid spreading salmonella. At the very least, clean them with a 10% bleach solution regularly. However, keep in mind merely cleaning doesn’t prevent sick birds who hang out at the feeder from passing it to other birds.
Cats and other animals can also get salmonella if they catch the birds: the SPCA website sells a special collar aimed to prevent them from catching birds (and prevent them from getting sick as a result). It can be purchased here.
Featured photo: A pine siskin collects dog fur for nesting material. Photo by barb biagi.