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Own a bird feeder in Utah? Remove it to avoid salmonella outbreak

Posted at 11:01 AM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 13:28:31-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A salmonella outbreak has led the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to ask residents who own bird feeders to remove them temporarily.

An increased number of reports of sick and dead songbirds in northern Utah have been received following the outbreak in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Because of the danger to state birds, DWR says to temporarily take down or remove all bird feeders in neighborhoods where sick or dead birds have been found. Without a source of food, birds will disperse and slow the transmission of salmonella.

Residents are also asked to clean the area below bird feeders and remove all seeds that could attract birds. People should also use gloves when touching the feeders.

Even if there are no sick or dying birds found, people should use feeders made of smooth plastic, steel or glass that are easier to clean. Feeders that prevent seeds from becoming wet are also recommended, as are those that don't allow birds to sit on the food while eating.

“While regularly cleaning your bird feeders and baths is always recommended to prevent disease transmission, a more rigorous disinfecting schedule is required during an outbreak of salmonellosis, which is why we recommend temporarily removing feeders and water baths,” DWR Wildlife Conservation Biologist Adam Brewerton said. “We all love to see wild birds come to our feeders, but feeders that are not properly cleaned can pose more of a risk than a benefit for birds.”