Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

DFG Asks California Residents to Keep Bird Feeders Clean and Disease-Free

Expand Messages
  • Dave & Cathy Ortiz
    For your information- Cathy CCWR Action Alert: DFG Asks California Residents to Keep Bird Feeders Clean and Disease-Free Department of Fish and Game NEWS
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 18, 2006
      For your information-
      Cathy



      CCWR Action Alert: DFG Asks California Residents to Keep Bird Feeders Clean and Disease-Free



      Department of Fish and Game
      NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      06:041 April 17, 06

      Contacts:
      Patrick Foy, DFG Office of Communications, (916) 651-9130
      Dr. Pam Swift, D.V.M., DFG Wildlife Veterinarian, (916) 358-1462
      Dr. Nancy Anderson, D.V.M., Lindsay Wildlife Museum (925) 935-1978

      DFG Asks California Residents to Keep Bird Feeders Clean and Disease-Free

      The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is encouraging California residents to take additional steps this spring to keep bird feeders clean.
      An outbreak of mycoplasmosis, a disease affecting finches, but not humans, has been discovered in the Walnut Creek area.

      "Weekly cleaning of bird feeders must be done to minimize the risk of spreading the disease among finches and other birds," said Dr. Pam Swift, a DFG wildlife veterinarian.

      Mycoplasmosis is a bacteria-like disease that has been discovered for the first time in wild finches in California. The disease has been present in wild birds in the eastern US since the mid-1990s. Dr. Nancy Anderson, D.V.M. of the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek first noticed eye infections in house finches brought to the Museum. Subsequent testing indicated that the cause was mycoplasmosis, and it was confirmed by the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory out of U.C. Davis.

      Affected birds develop an eye infection that may lead to blindness and breathing difficulties. Birds may then rub their heads on branches and feeders, increasing the risk of spreading the disease. The types of feeders that force birds to stick their heads inside are especially problematic because the birds' eyes come into direct contact with the
      sides of the tubes. Other species of birds may be also affected by this disease.

      To help control the disease, DFG biologists are urging residents to begin aggressively cleaning bird feeders weekly by using a 10 percent solution of household bleach in water. The feeders should be completely dried before adding new food. Other suggestions include:

      a.. Clean up old food around feeders on a regular basis.
      b.. Spread small amounts of seed over a large area in the sun, instead of using bird boxes or feeders. Also, vary the location of seeds to avoid encouraging a concentration of birds at one site.
      c.. Replace wooden bird feeders with plastic or metal. Wood harbors disease organisms and cannot be sanitized as effectively.
      d.. Use gloves when handling dead birds and bird feeders and wash hands with anti-bacterial soap when finished.
      Residents should take these added steps to ensure feeder care at least through the end of May. Those who enjoy bird feeding should continue the practice of regular bird feeder cleaning, up to a weekly interval, outside of this outbreak.

      A low level of disease is common among wild bird populations. Weekly cleaning of bird feeders has been suggested during other bird disease outbreaks in past years.

      Mycoplasmosis is not related to Avian Influenza or West Nile Virus. It has not been known to spread to humans. However, good hygiene should always be practiced when cleaning bird feeders and areas where birds congregate.

      Wild species are not the only birds susceptible to mycoplasmosis. In domestic poultry there are many strains of mycoplasma that can result in respiratory disease, reproductive problems and joint infections. Poultry breeders control mycoplasma infections through a program managed by the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP). Vaccines developed for poultry are available for some types of mycoplasma. Antibiotics may be used, but birds may continue to carry and shed the organism. Preventing contact with wild birds is the best strategy to prevent mycoplasmosis in poultry.

      ###



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.