By adding smart and safe practices, you can help protect our feathered friends.
Preventing Salmonella at Bird Feeders
Just like with the COVID-19 pandemic, our own actions can help curb the spread of this disease. If you live in an area with a reported outbreak, be sure to:
Clean your feeders several times a week. A recent study found that the most effective way to clean birdfeeders was a combination of soaking them in a 9:1 bleach solution (i.e., 9 quarts of water to 1 quart of bleach) for at least fifteen minutes paired with washing them with general dish soap and water. Be sure to clean feeders away from where you prepare food and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards. You can also opt to spray empty feeders with the same 9:1 bleach solution. Allow the feeders to completely dry before re-filling, as damp bird seed promotes mold growth
PRO TIP: To make this process easier, switch out feeders as you clean them so there is always a backup feeder(s) while the others are being cleaned.
Clean your bird baths with the same solution as noted above—feces congregate in these areas too! Water in bird baths should be replaced daily, year round, to prohibit algal and bacterial growth in standing water.
Temporarily remove feeders that allow contact with bird feces and food. For example, tube feeders collect less feces than a platform feeder.
Always keep your cat indoors. Cats, just like humans, can be infected by Samonella and can bring its infection into your home.
Some state and local agencies collect dead birds to test for diseases.
If your local officials tell you to throw the dead bird away, wear gloves or place a plastic bag over your hand to pick it up. Place the bird in a plastic bag, tie the bag up, and throw it away, following your local officials’ instructions. Some locations may allow dead birds to be disposed of in your regular trash. Wash your hands with soap and water when you are finished.
To help you be good stewards of the birds visiting your backyard, WBFI and the not-for-profit experts in backyard wild bird feeding compiled the information you need in the 6 Steps poster. WBFI is glad to make this important information available to you now.