Sick redpolls in northern Simcoe County

Jean Iron jeaniron at
Wed Feb 6 12:29:44 EST 2002

Dear Ontbirders,

I believe this is important information.

Sick and dying redpolls probably have Salmonellosis. Dr. Doug Campbell at 
the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre at the University of Guelph 
recently confirmed salmonella bacteria this winter in redpolls from Ontario.

Below is information from Dr. Campbell courtesy of a friend.

Dr. Campbell answered a few questions related to the human/pet health side 
of the issue.

1. Q Can cats or dogs get sick from eating birds that are dying or have 
died from Salmonellosis?

A Yes. Try to keep your pets away from them.

2. Q What do I do if I find a dead bird?

A You may wish to send the specimen in for anaysis. If not, use the plastic 
bag "stoop and scoop" method, seal it, and send it to the landfill site.

3. Q Can this disease be spread to people?

A Yes.

4. Q How can I protect myself?

A Use good hygiene and common sense. Wear rubber gloves when loading 
feeders, cleaning feeders, cleaning up underneath feeders or handling dead 
birds, and wash up afterwards.

5. Q Can I help prevent the spread of this disease to other birds?

A Yes. You can remove the feed and disinfect your bird feeder, especially 
tray feeders or underneath silo feeders, by using a 10% chlorine bleach 
solution. Once per week is recommended.

Some other general information related to the disease itself is included here:

Salmonellosis is a primarily a disease of the digestive tract in these birds.

Birds contaminate feed by deficating.

The fact that these birds congregate in large numbers at feeders 
contributes to the spread of the disease.

There can be chronic carriers of the disease that are not obviously sick 
yet can spread it to other birds.

It is probably a naturally occurring disease in the population.

Dfferent salmonella strains tend to be quite species specific.

Ron Pittaway
Minden, Ontario
E-mail: jeaniron at 

Jean Iron <jeaniron at>

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